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U.S. Department of the Interior 
Bureau of Land Management 

Vale District Office 
100 Oregon Street 
Vale, Oregon 97918 



September 1993 



Analysis of Management 

Alternatives 

Leslie Gulch 

Area of Critical 

Concern 



As the Nation's principal conservation agency, the Department of the Interior has responsibility for most of our nationally owned public lands and 
natural resources. This includes fostering the wisest use of our land and water resources, protecting our fish and wildlife, preserving the 
environmental and cultural values of our national parks and historical places, and providing for the enjoyment of life through outdoor recreation. 
The Department assesses our energy and mineral resources and works to assure that their development is in the best interest of all our people. 
The Department also has a major responsibility for American Indian reservation communities and for people who live in Island Territories under 
U.S. administration. 



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United States Department of the Interior America] 



BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT 

Vale District Office 

100 Oregon Street 

Vale, Oregon 97918 




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TN REPLY REFER TO: 



1613 



September 14, 1993 



Dear Interested Citizen: 

Thank you for your interest in following the development of a management plan 
for the Leslie Gulch Area of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC) . Enclosed 
is an alternative management analysis for the ACEC for your review and 
comment. We need your comments within 3 days from the date of this letter in 
order for them to be considered in the next phase of planning. The three 
alternatives analyzed provide a range of management options for the ACEC. 
This analysis and public comments will be used to refine the issues and 
develop a preferred management alternative. 

The management plan is being developed with guidance from the Northern Malheur 
Management Framework Plan (MFP) . During development of alternatives for 
management of the ACEC, alternatives were identified which, if selected, would 
require amending the MFP. The possible amendment would be related to 
inholding acquisition, livestock grazing, mineral development and wild horses 
as they pertain to management of the relevant and important values of the 
ACEC. In order to avoid duplicate effort in developing the ACEC management 
plan and then amending the MFP, we will consider amending the MFP while 
developing the ACEC management plan. 

The next phase of the planning process will be to develop a preferred 
management alternative for the ACEC, a proposal for amending the MFP, and an 
environmental assessment. These documents should be available for public 
review in December 1993 . A proposed decision on amending the MFP and a draft 
ACEC management plan should be available for public review in March 1994. A 
final decision is expected in June 1994 . It is not anticipated there will be 
any public meetings or hearings, all comments are expected to be in writing. 

In order to control the costs of document reproduction and mail, we will mail 
future documents only to those people who comment on this alternative analysis 
or to those writing to us indicating they would like to receive future 
documents for comment. 




Ralph" Heft 

Malheur v /Resource Area Manager 



Enclosure (as stated) 



United States Department of the Interior 

Bureau of Land Management 

Vale District Office 

1 00 Oregon Street 

Vale, Oregon 97918 



Analysis Of Management Alternatives 

Leslie Gulch 
Area Of Critical Environmental Concern 



September 1993 



Table Of Contents 



Page 

Acronym list v 

Introduction 1 

Setting 1 

Relevant and Important Values 2 

Other Values 4 

Major Management Issues 8 

Management Alternatives 9 

Management Alternatives Not Analyzed 20 

Resource Management Topics, Impacts of Alternatives 20 

Other Critical Elements 49 

Organizations Consulted 49 

Participating Staff 49 

Glossary 49 

Appendix I : 55 

Maps And Tables 

ACEC Area Map 3 

Wilderness Study Area Map ■ 7 

Table of Management Alternatives 10 

Minerals Alternative A Map ■ 15 

Table of Special Status Plants 56 



iii 



IV 



Acronyms 



ACEC - Area of Critical Environmental Concern 

AUM - Animal Unit Month 

CA - Conservation Agreement 

EA - Environmental Assessment 

EIS - Environmental Impact Statement 

FLPMA- Federal Land Policy and Management Act 

HMA - Herd Management Area 

HMP - Habitat Management Plan 

IMP - Interim Management Policy and Guidlines for Lands under Wilderness Review 

MFP - Management Framework Plan 

MOU - Memorandum of Understanding 

NEPA - National Environmental Policy Act 

ODFW - Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife 

OHV - Off Highway Vehicle 

PUP - Pesticide Use Permit 

RNA - Research Natural Area 

ROS - Recreation Opportunity Spectrum 

RPS - Range Program Summary 

VRM - Visual Resource Management 

WSA - Wilderness Study Area 



VI 



Introduction 

The purpose of this document is to present and 
analyze alternative management actions necessary 
to protect and enhance the unique values found in 
Leslie Gulch. The area was designated an Area of 
Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC) in 1983 in 
the Northern Malheur Management Framework Plan 
(MFP). 

Areas are designated as ACECs when special 
management attention is required to protect and 
prevent irreparable damage to important historic, 
cultural, or scenic values, fish and wildlife resources 
or other natural systems or processes, or to protect 
life and provide safety from natural hazards. The 
Federal Land Policy and Management Act requires 
that the BLM give priority to the designation and 
protection of ACECs. 

To be designated as an ACEC, an area must meet 
the criteria of "Relevance" and "Importance". To meet 
the "relevance" criterion for ACEC designation, an 
area must have characteristics such as significant 
scenic values or habitat for sensitive or threatened 
animal or plant species. The relevant values or 
resources identified must also have substantial 
significance to meet the "importance" criteria for 
ACEC designation. This means that the values 
identified must be more than locally significant and 
must have qualities which make the area fragile, 
sensitive, unique or vulnerable to adverse change. 

The 1 1 ,900-acre Leslie Gulch ACEC was identified to 
protect the relevant and important values of high 
quality scenery, California bighorn sheep habitat and 
special status plant species habitat. The objectives 
for management within the ACEC are to protect, 
conserve and enhance these values while authorizing 
the various activities which occur within the area. 



Setting 



Leslie Gulch drains into the Owyhee Reservoir 
approximately 50 miles south of Ontario, Oregon, and 
60 miles southwest of Boise, Idaho. The mouth of the 
gulch is at approximately 2600 feet above sea level, 
and the highest elevation is approximately 5300 feet 
on the eastern boundary of the ACEC. The boundary 
of the ACEC is generally defined by the watershed 
boundaries of Leslie, Slocum, Juniper, Dago and 
Runaway Gulches and their tributaries. Approxi- 
mately 600 acres east of Grassy Ridge are also 
included. The ACEC covers approximately 11,900 
acres. Much of the southern boundary of the ACEC is 



the boundary between public and private lands to the 
south on Mahogany Mountain. Bureau of Reclama- 
tion (BR) lands abut the west boundary of the ACEC 
near the Owyhee Reservoir. 

The climate of the area is similar to that of the Great 
Basin and is one of extremes. Winter low tempera- 
tures can range well below zero, but typically are 
between 10 and 30 degrees. During the summer, 
highs generally are near or above 100 degrees daily. 
While average annual precipitation is near eight 
inches, actual rainfall amounts are unpredictable. 
Storm events can bring several inches of rainfall 
within a few hours. During these times, the otherwise 
dry gulches can turn into raging torrents which can 
block or wash out roads and trails. With the exception 
of a short section beiow Mud Spring, none of the 
drainages within the Leslie Gulch ACEC contain 
perennially flowing water. Surface water typically 
flows in the drainages for only a short time in the 
spring or following storm events. 

The rugged, scenic topography of the ACEC area has 
formed primarily by the differential weathering of the 
Leslie Gulch Ash Flow Tuff. These rocks were 
deposited 15 million years ago by a rhyolite pyroclas- 
tic flow. This violent volcanic explosion, which can be 
compared to the 1980 Mount Saint Helens eruption, 
resulted in the filling of the geographic low created by 
the formation of the Mahogany Mountain caldera. 
This mobile, molten froth contained hot volcanic 
gases, volcanic ash and larger volcanic debris. As the 
deposit cooled and lithified into rock, gases were 
trapped forming the pitted, "honeycomb" appearance 
of many of the rocks. Subsequent uplift, faulting and 
erosion has created the striking canyon vistas 
present today. 

The variable soil types within the ACEC are primarily 
determined by landform and geologic type. The 
weathering of volcanic rocks in Leslie Gulch develop 
soils which are rich in clays and highly erosive. Many 
drainages have well formed gullies, and rills are 
common on some hillsides. This erosiveness is due 
to the steepness of the landforms, the unconsolidated 
nature of the weathered volcanic ash, the precipita- 
tion pattern, and the poor vegetative cover which 
occurs in the desert setting. Young, shallow soils 
have developed on outcrops of soft ash deposits, 
which provide unique conditions needed for many of 
the special status plants. 

The canyons of the Leslie Gulch ACEC support the 
highest concentration of rare plant species in eastern 
Oregon, five of which are candidates for listing under 
the Endangered Species Act. The general ecological 
setting encompasses a wide variety of plant commu- 



1 



nities. An unusual pattern of northern, mesic flora 
represented by a relict stand of Ponderosa pine, 
mountain mahogany, and rocky mountain maple are 
in close association to a southern, xeric flora com- 
posed of greasewood, shadscale, and spiny 
hopsage. When combined with the rare plant spe- 
cies, the vegetative elements of the ACEC give a 
floristic variety unexcelled in Malheur County. 

The Mahogany Ridge Research Natural Area (RNA), 
designated in the Northern Malheur MFP in 1983, 
covers 320 acres in the southeast portion of the 
ACEC. This area contains dense stands of mountain 
mahogany in complex vegetative associations with 
sagebrush and Oregon grape and was designated to 
protect these unusual plant communities. 

Mule deer and Rocky Mountain elk are found in the 
upland habitats of the ACEC and in adjacent lands. 
Upland game birds such as chukar partridge and 
California quail occupy much of the area. The rugged 
canyons also provide habitat for coyote, bobcat, and 
a variety of non-game migratory birds. Raptors, 
northern flickers and white-throated swifts use the 
numerous cliff crevices and cavities, which also 
provide potential habitat for bats. The area also 
provides excellent reptile habitat. 

Leslie Gulch is popular for recreational use. Devel- 
oped recreational opportunities include boating, 
fishing, camping and sightseeing. The boat launch 
facility is a favored takeout point for floaters on the 
Owyhee Wild and Scenic River and provides the only 
launch facility on the upper Owyhee Reservoir. 
Dispersed recreational opportunities include hiking, 
rockclimbing, hunting, outdoor photography and 
wildlife watching. Leslie Gulch and the surrounding 
area provides one of the few places in Oregon where 
bighorn sheep can be hunted. The rockclimbing 
routes within the ACEC are highly challenging. 

Most of the ACEC is made up of portions of three 
Wilderness Study Areas (WSAs). The Slocum Creek, 
Honeycombs and Upper Leslie Gulch WSAs have all 
been recommended by the BLM for wilderness 
designation. The Oregon Wilderness Environmental 
Impact Statement identified all three WSAs as having 
a high degree of naturalness and outstanding oppor- 
tunities for solitude or primitive and unconfined types 
of recreation. 

The Leslie Gulch pasture of the Three Fingers 
temporary allotment makes up approximately 90 
percent of the ACEC. The remainder of the ACEC is 
within the Bannock pasture of the same allotment. 



No systematic cultural resource inventories have 
been conducted within the Leslie Gulch ACEC 
boundaries. One prehistoric site has been identified 
and recorded, but its eligilility for the National Regis- 
ter of Historic Places has not yet been determined. 
Extensive cultural resource inventories have been 
conducted upriver from the Leslie Gulch area. The 
Owyhee River, tributary canyons and adjacent 
uplands are known to have been intensively and 
extensively utilized by Native Americans. 

No systematic paleontological inventories have been 
conducted within the Leslie Gulch ACEC boundaries. 
A single tooth of unknown significance has been 
identified in the ACEC area. 

The lands contained within the ACEC are public 
lands administered by the Bureau of Land Manage- 
ment. One 40-acre, privately owned parcel is located 
in T26S R45E Sec. 18 SW1/4 SE1/4, at the 
confluence of Leslie and Dago gulches. This prop- 
erty is not part of the ACEC. There is a cabin and 
perennially flowing Mud Spring is on the parcel. A 
100 foot wide public easement crosses this private 
land, provides public access to the shore of Owyhee 
Reservoir. 

The lands surrounding Owyhee Reservoir are with- 
drawn for the use of the Bureau of Reclamation. 
Approximately 340 acres of these lands are currently 
managed by the BLM under a Memorandum of 
Understanding (MOU). These lands which are 
located at the mouth of Leslie Gulch are neither part 
of the ACEC nor part of the wilderness study areas, 
but are managed for compatibility with the ACEC. 

Relevant And Important 
Values 

Special Status Plants 

Five plant species found within the canyon are 
candidates for listing under the federal Endangered 
Species Act. AH are associated with the highly 
unusual ash formations found in the area. Two of 
these species, Ertter's groundsel {Senecio ertterae - 
Category I) and Packard's blazing star (Mentzelia 
packardiae -Category 2), grow predominantly on the 
greenish-yellow ash-tuff talus slopes. Grimy ivesia 
(Ivesia rhypara var. rhypara - Category 2 ) and 
Owyhee clover (Trifolium owhyeense - Category 2) 
grow on a shallow ash substrate. Sterile milk-vetch 
(Astragalus sterilis - Category 2) also is found 
scattered on ash deposits throughout the region. 
Three uncommon plant species, Packard's sage- 



LESLIE GULCH 

AREA OF CRITICAL ENVIRONMENTAL CONCERN 



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brush (Artemisia packardiae), Mackenzie's phacelia 
{Phacelia lutea var. mackenziorum) and bare- 
stemmed buckwheat (Eriogonum novonudum) are 
also found in the canyons and bluffs of the ACEC. 
Ertter's groundsel and Packard's blazing star have 
been listed by the state of Oregon as threatened, and 
grimy ivesia and sterile milk-vetch are proposed for 
addition to the state list in 1993. 

Based on numbers and total acreage, grimy ivesia is 
the rarest species in the ACEC. Its geographical 
distribution includes two small sites in northern 
Nevada and another small site in Lake County, 
Oregon. In addition to the Leslie Gulch sites, a site in 
northern Nevada has also been identified for 
Packard's blazing star. Ertter's groundsel grows in 
the Leslie Gulch vicinity and at two restricted sites 
near Birch Creek, a tributary of the Owyhee River 
approximately six miles southwest from Leslie Gulch. 
Owyhee clover and sterile milk-vetch are endemic to 
the larger Owyhee region, with the clover known only 
on sites east of the Owyhee River. 

Scenic Values 

The scenery within the ACEC is dominated by 
spectacular geologic formations created by the 
differential weathering of the Leslie Gulch Ash-Flow 
Tuff member of the Succor Creek formation. The tuff 
may be 2,000 feet thick in some places. Its great 
thickness, uniformity and relative resistance to 
weathering formed the impressive cliffs, outcrops and 
spires that characterize the area. As the volcanic 
rocks cooled, gases trapped inside led to the creation 
of the eerie and spectacular "honeycombing" effect in 
some areas, and is responsible for many skyline 
windows in the rock formations. The various ash 
layers present a variety of colors ranging from yellow 
to green and multiple shades of red. The areas's 
vegetation and intrusions of more resistant rhyolite 
dikes, frequently columnar in appearance, provide 
additional contrasting texture and color to the inspir- 
ing landscape. 

Under the BLM Visual Resource Management (VRM) 
program, the ACEC is within a designated Class II 
area (See Glossary). 

Bighorn Sheep Habitat 

California bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis 
californiana) are a Category 2 candidate for listing 
under the Endangered Species Act. In the early 
1900s, bighorn sheep in Leslie Gulch were extirpated 
due to domestic sheep diseases and unregulated 



hunting. Seventeen bighorns were reintroduced in 
Leslie Gulch in 1965. The herd has grown to a 
population of approximately 200-240 animals which 
range outside of the ACEC, utilizing a 120-square 
mile area on the east side of Owyhee Reservoir and 
the Owyhee River. 

Leslie Gulch provides excellent habitat for bighorn 
sheep. The steep cliffs of the canyon offer escape 
cover for the animals, and the small natural shelters 
along the rock faces provide thermal cover. Grasses, 
forbs and shrubs provide ample forage. Mud Spring 
and Owyhee Reservoir provide perennial water. The 
remote, rugged wilderness study areas extending 
beyond the ACEC provide a large area with a low 
potential for human harassment of the bighorns. 



Other Values 



Access And Roads 

The Leslie Gulch Road was originally constructed in 
the early 1900s as a wagon road from the community 
of Watson and the farming area along the Owyhee 
River for access to the east. In the 1960s, at the 
urging of the Malheur County Commissioners, the 
present road was constructed from the Succor Creek 
Road to the Owyhee Reservoir in the late 1960's. 
This newly constructed road parallels the Leslie 
Gulch creek bed and follows a route with improved 
visibility and grade in Runaway Creek. 

Today, the Leslie Gulch Road provides public access 
to one of only four boat launch sites on Owyhee 
Reservoir, as well as recreational access to the 
Leslie Gulch area. A lockable gate near the ACEC's 
eastern edge can be closed if necessary to provide 
public safety in the event of water-caused road 
damage. 

The ACEC has two primitive roads. One up the 
bottom of Dago Gulch and another along the top of 
Steamboat Ridge. 

Mineral Resources 

The mineral potential of the ACEC was analyzed by 
the U.S. Geological Survey in 1989 as part of the 
Wilderness Study Area evaluation process. 

Portions of the ACEC have a moderate potential for 
occurrence of the locatable minerals uranium, 
thorium, gold, silver, lithium, arsenic, zeolite, mercury 



and zinc. Other areas are rated as having low 
potential for zinc. No mines, prospects, or mining 
claims are located within the ACEC. 

The ACEC is not open for mineral leasing and no 
current mineral leases exist within the area. Portions 
of the ACEC have a moderate potential for geother- 
mal resources. The area is rated as having no 
potential for other leasable mineral resources. 

The salable minerals of sand, gravel and stone are 
currently available for sale throughout the ACEC. 
While large volumes of these materials exist, these 
are not considered a resource since similar deposits 
exist elsewhere which are more accessible and 
closer to markets. No salable mineral developments 
are located within the ACEC. 

Livestock Grazing 

The public land within the ACEC has been grazed by 
livestock for many years. The name Leslie Gulch 
was derived from Hiram Leslie, a early rancher in the 
area. Historically, the first grazing by livestock began 
in the late 1800s and was unregulated. The Owyhee 
River was the base of operations for a number of 
ranches near the ACEC. Early accounts describe 
extensive, yearlong use by sheep, cattle and horses. 
Livestock grazing continues to be an important part of 
the local economy and culture. 

Approximately 800 acres of the Bannock pasture and 
all of the Leslie Gulch pasture are in the ACEC. The 
Bannock Pasture is on the eastern edge of the 
ACEC, and watershed from the pasture is not part of 
the Leslie Gulch drainage system. Both pastures are 
within the Three Fingers temporary allotment. These 
pastures have 9,981 active and 4,653 suspended 
Animal Unit Months (AUMs) with four grazing permit- 
tees. Currently, the two pastures are used by two of 
the permittees, who use the Leslie Gulch pasture with 
132 head of cattle and 264 AUMs from March 1 to 
April 30. The Bannock pasture is used by approxi- 
mately 450 cattle from May 1 to October 31 in a 
deferred rotation grazing system with three additional 
pastures. Grazing use in the Bannock Pasture is 
deferred until after the critical growth period of key 
forage species (approximately July 1 ) two out of three 
years. 

Recreation 

The Leslie Gulch area has long attracted 
recreationists in search of a high quality outdoor 
experience. Elements of its attractiveness are its 



remote location with reasonable vehicular access and 
the opportunity to pursue outdoor recreation activities 
in a setting with relatively few man-made impacts. 
Within the ACEC, the area's natural attractions 
provide for exceptional scenic, geologic, botanical, 
wildlife, and general sightseeing activities and 
outstanding opportunities for nature photography. 

Under the Recreation Opportunity Spectrum of 
describing recreational settings, the majority of the 
lands within the ACEC provide a setting for primitive 
types of recreational use, while those corridors 
adjacent to and including the existing roads provide 
for roaded natural and semiprimitive nonmotorized 
types of recreation opportunities (see Glossary). 

The 1985 development at Owyhee Reservoir of a 
concrete boat ramp with parking, fish cleaning station 
and the Slocum Creek campground with vault 
restrooms, has provided increased recreational use 
opportunities. The boat ramp is one of only four 
ramps developed on the reservoir and serves as the 
only boating access for the upper Owyhee Reservoir 
area. All improvements except the campground are 
located on BOR land outside of the ACEC. Through 
a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the 
BOR, the BLM manages this area. Two additional 
vault restrooms are located within the Leslie Gulch 
canyon adjacent to the Leslie Gulch Road. 

Higher recreational use of the area typically occurs 
before and after the hot summer season. The river 
floatboating season, the greening up of the desert, 
and higher water levels of Owyhee Reservoir typically 
attract the highest use levels during the spring. 
During the fall when day time temperatures begin to 
cool and hunting activities increase there is also 
increased use. Based on limited available seasonal 
road traffic information, indications are that an 
upward trend in nonboating visitation is occuring in 
the Leslie Gulch area. During those years when 
water storage in Owyhee Reservior has provided 
reasonable boat ramp access from Leslie Gulch, 
approximately 50 percent of the area's visitation has 
occurred from April through June. The remaining 50 
percent of annual recreational use occurs mostly 
from July through approximately mid-November. 
From 1976 through 1987, the average annual num- 
ber of visitors to Leslie Gulch has been an estimated 
8,360 persons. During the drought years of 1988 
through 1992 total visitation was slightly lower, with a 
higher percentage of use occurring later in the 
season. 

Leslie Gulch remains the primary takeout point for 
river floaters who put in at Rome on the Owyhee 
National Wild River. The latter part of the river 



floating season coincides with the reservoir boating 
use season, occasionally straining existing parking 
capabilities. 

The multitude of side canyons and various ridge 
systems within the ACEC beckon the more adventur- 
ous visitor. The Leslie Gulch Road through the main 
canyon has made such nonmotorized recreational 
use opportunities more accessible than in most other 
areas of the Owyhee Breaks country. Dispersed 
primitive recreation activities include day hiking; 
geologic, botanic and wildlife viewing; general 
sightseeing; and hunting. 

Upland bird and big game hunters seeking primarily 
chukar partridge and mule deer visit the area. A 
selected few people are annually licensed by the 
ODFW to hunt the prized bighorn sheep. 

The Leslie Gulch bighorn sheep herd has been 
hunted since 1973, with 89 hunters taking 82 bighorn 
rams. This is one of 26 areas where bighorns are 
hunted in Oregon, and one of only four areas in 
Oregon where a nonresident bighorn tag is offered. 
There are presently two hunts in September with 
three hunters each season. 

Historically, most recreational horse use has been by 
big game hunters. Hunters with horses travel along 
the Owyhee River canyon when the reservoir level is 
low, taking them outside of the ACEC. 

Hikers and equestrians have expressed interest in 
development of a nonmotorized Owyhee Breaks Trail 
along the east side of the Owyhee Reservoir. This 
trail would extend from near the state park at the 
north end of the reservoir to Leslie Gulch and further 
south. Such a trail would aid recreationists in navigat- 
ing through an extensive region of public lands 
located in the Honeycombs and Wild Horse Basin 
Wilderness Study Areas. Leslie Gulch would be a 
likely location for providing trailhead amenities since 
the road provides access through the canyon. 
Sport rock climbing has increased since 1990. 
Before then, only one climbing route was known in 
the area. Current climbing routes are within existing 
wilderness study areas, notably in or near the upper 
Leslie Gulch canyon. "Einstein" is the most devel- 
oped climbing site with 14 summit anchor points and 
a combination of 26 climbing routes. The site is on a 
vertical to overhanging rock face accessed by a o.25 
mile hike up upper Leslie Gulch canyon. A second 
popular climbing site is "Asylum", which is located on 
a rock wall at the junction of Runaway Creek and 
upper Leslie Gulch. 



The ACEC is within a designated "limited" off-high- 
way vehicle (OHV) use area. This designation 
restricts the use of all motorized vehicles yearlong on 
BLM public lands to three existing routes: the Run- 
away Creek/Leslie Gulch main road, Dago Gulch 
Road, and the route on Steamboat Ridge. 

While vehicle-accompanied campers are encouraged 
to limit their activities to the Slocum Creek camp- 
ground, there are no specific restrictions related to 
camping activity within the ACEC. Occasionally 
vehicle camp sites are established off the main roads 
in the ACEC, particularly in Dago Canyon and along 
the main Leslie Gulch Road. The Dago Gulch/Leslie 
Gulch junction area is also a preferred vehicle 
camping and parking area, some on the private 40- 
acre parcel and some on adjacent public land. 
Dispersed vehicle camping activities has resulted in 
increased damage and destruction of woody vegeta- 
tion for use in campfires, and impacts on vegetation, 
soil, and on some rare plant habitats neighboring the 
Leslie Gulch Road. 

Wilderness 

Approximately 85 percent of the ACEC has been 
designated as wilderness study areas (WSAs). 
Included is all of the 3,000-acre Upper Leslie Gulch 
WSA (OR-3-74), about 55 percent of the 7,600-acre 
Slocum Creek WSA (OR-3-75), and about 8 percent 
of the 39,000-acre Honeycombs WSA (OR-3-77A). 

Wilderness values identified within the three WSAs 
are outstanding opportunities for primitive and 
unconfined recreation, a high degree of naturalness 
and a number of special wilderness features. 

Special wilderness features within the ACEC include 
their spectacular scenery, the presence of several 
species of special status plants, bighorn sheep, 
winter habitat for northern bald eagles, Rocky Moun- 
tain elk, a disjunct stand of ponderosa pine and an 
outstanding population of curl-leaf mountain ma- 
hogany. 

Wildlife 

Mule deer and Rocky Mountain elk are found in the 
upland habitats of the ACEC and lands adjacent to 
the ACEC. Mule deer also utilize Runaway Gulch 
during the early winter and lower Leslie Gulch in the 
late winter and early spring. Elk use varies with the 
severity of the winter. Upland game birds such as 
chukar partridge and California quail occupy much of 
the area. The rugged canyons also provide habitat for 



T. 25 S. 
T. 26 S 



LESLIE GULCH 

AREA OF CRITICAL ENVIRONMENTAL CONCERN 




coyote, bobcat, hawks, lizards, and a variety of non- 
game migratory birds. Raptors, northern flickers, and 
white-throated swifts use the numerous cliff crevices, 
which also provide potential habitat for bats. 

Special status animal species in the ACEC other than 
California bighorn sheep include bald eagles 
(Haliaeetus leucocephalus), listed as threatened 
under the Endangered Species Act, which winter 
along the Owyhee River corridor. Mountain quail 
{Oreortyxpictus), a Category 2 candidate for listing, 
have been rare in Malheur County for many years. 
The last recorded observation in the county was in 
the ACEC in 1981 . Alcoves and crevices in the cliff 
walls provide potential roosting habitat for 
Townsend's big-eared bat (Plecotus townsendii), a 
Category 2 candidate for listing. Reptile species 
found in the area include the Mojave black-collared 
lizard (Crotaphytus bicinctores), a Bureau Sensitive 
species, and the western ground snake (Sonora 
semiannulata), a Bureau tracking species. The white- 
tailed antelope squirrel (Ammospermophilus 
leucurus) is another Bureau tracking species that has 
been observed in the ACEC. 



west or northwest have been advanced. Because of 
its inaccessibility, the stand shows little to no sign of 
visitation by livestock or humans. 

The Mahogany Ridge RNA is on the northern side of 
Mahogany Mountain. Much of the RNA shows little 
use by domestic livestock and is considered to show 
undisturbed examples of several extensive curl-leaf 
mountain mahogany (Cercocarpus ledifolius) stands. 
Several differences in soil types and communities 
represent variations in which the mahogany can 
grow. The RNA site appears to be a transition area 
between mountain mahogany and western juniper 
(Juniperus occidentalis) with a good mosaic of the 
two species. The area is remote and can be ac- 
cessed only through cross-country hiking. Manage- 
ment for RNAs is to preserve the identified values in 
their existing states for research opportunities. All 
actions associated with this plan will be consistent 
with this management objective. 



Major Management issues 



Wild Horses 

About 12,000 acres (15 percent) of the Three Fingers 
Wild Horse Herd Management Area (HMA) are within 
the Leslie Gulch ACEC. Wild or feral horses have 
used the HMA since the late 1800s. Accounts from 
the early 1900s estimated over 5,000 feral horses 
inhabited the general area from Cow Creek on the 
south, to Adrian on the north, the Owyhee River on 
the west, and the Idaho state line on the east. Today 
there are between 75 and 150 wild horses within the 
76,933 acre HMA, but wild horses use of Leslie 
Gulch is currently infrequent. 

Other Botanical Resources 

Contributing to the biological divisity of the ACEC are 
two significant sites which support notable examples 
of botanical communities. 

A small disjunct population of ponderosa pine {Pinus 
ponderosa) is found at the southern boundary of the 
ACEC. The stand occurs on the crest of a ryolitic 
ridge approximately 70 miles from the nearest 
ponderosa pine forests. Nearly 1 00 trees varying in 
age from seedlings to two trees over 200 years old 
have been identified. There is no evidence indicating 
that this is a relict population, and origins from the 



Activities Affecting Special Status 
Plants 

Grazing 

Livestock grazing may impact the relevant and 
important values of special status plants by trampling 
the plants and their habitat, and to a lesser extent by 
consuming the plants. Many of the known plant sites 
are situated on the lower slopes where cattle usually 
graze. Some plant sites have well developed trails 
through them which preclude plant growth due to 
continuing disturbance and soil compaction. 

The 264 AUMs of grazing provided by the Leslie 
Gulch pasture provides income for the grazing 
permittees and helps support the customary life style 
of the local ranching community. 

The special status plant populations have survived 
historic grazing pressures which were heavier than 
today. It is unknown if historic grazing has caused a 
reduction in the range of these species. Localized 
extinctions or population reductions may have 
occurred on suitable habitat which has been subject 
to grazing. 



Recreation 

People may impact the special status plants by 
trampling them or their habitat. Several of the plant 
sites are near preferred hiking routes, the main Leslie 
Gulch Road and the existing Slocum Creek camp- 
ground. Factors affecting impacts by visitors include 
the levels and types of recreation and the location of 
recreational activites relative to the locations of the 
plant habitat. Promoting visitation to Leslie Gulch or 
improving recreational facilities to an excessive level 
could attract too many visitors to the area. Inad- 
equately managed increased visitor use in the area 
may cause unacceptable impacts to the relevant and 
important values of the ACEC. 

Road Maintanence 

At three locations, the Leslie Gulch Road passes 
through habitat supporting special status plants. The 
road is maintained on an annual basis, with addi- 
tional maintenance necessary following sporadic 
flood events. Maintenance activities disturb habitat, 
affect seed dissemination, and may uproot plants. 

Grazing Impacts To Recreation 

Some recreationists object to seeing cattle or their 
sign, and many have expressed the opinion that 
cattle should not be in or around developed recre- 
ational facilities such as campgrounds. 

Acquisition Of Private Inholding 

The 40-acre Dago Gulch parcel has the only reliable, 
accessible water source within the ACEC. There is a 
cabin on the property and the owner is not required to 
control noxious weeds. There is no legal public 
access across this land to Dago Gulch and there is 
limited control over the type of development which 
the owner could pursue. Some public opinion favors 
removing the cabin from the natural setting of Leslie 
Gulch. BLM is yet to determine if public interest is 
served best by acquiring ownership of the property or 
by acquisition of access and scenic easements. The 
water at the site is extremely important to the Califor- 
nia bighorn sheep and is presently available for 
public use. 

Rock Climbing 

Several rock climbing routes within Leslie Gulch are 
of world class quality. All are located within the 
Wilderness Study Area portions of the ACEC. Climb- 



ers have created hand holds and use chalk which 
makes the hand holds quite visible. In addition, fixed 
metallic anchors to support ropes and other hardware 
are attached to the rock faces. Popular climbing 
routes can become highly visible and impact the 
relevant and important scenic values of the area as 
well as wilderness values. 

Noxious Weeds 

Three noxious weed species have been found in 
Leslie Gulch, and other far more aggressive species 
have been located in nearby areas. Spread of these 
plants represents the greatest threat to the special 
status plants and their habitat. Weeds can be spread 
through movement of domestic and wild animals, by 
vehicles moving through the area, by the wind, and 
by general recreational activities including hiking and 
camping. 

Management Alternatives 

Ten resource management topics have been identi- 
fied that require management direction within the 
Leslie Gulch ACEC. These are the following: Access 
and Roads, Land Tenure, Minerals, Livestock Graz- 
ing, Noxious Weeds, Wild Horses, Special Status 
Plants, Wildlife, Wildfire, and Recreation. 

In this section, three alternatives are presented for 
each of these resource management topics. Each 
alternative consists of management actions which 
may be implemented for that topic. Generally, the 
Alternative A actions are the most conservative, 
Alternative B is no change from current management 
direction, and Alternative C is the most developed 
approach. The final management prescription for 
Leslie Gulch could be selected from portions of each 
these alternatives. 

Management Alternatives For 
Access And Roads 

Alternative A 

In addition to the existing maintenance practices 
detailed for the Leslie Gulch road in Alternative B, the 
following actions would be implemented: 

• Two additional parking areas would be developed 
along the Leslie Gulch Road to reduce traffic 
congestion and to provide access to portions of 
the ACEC where no parking now exists. The 



9 





Summary Of Management Alternatives By Resource Topic 


Resource 


Alternative A 


Alternative B 


Alternative C 


Topic 








Access and Roads 


•All existing maintenance 


•Drainage crossings not 


All measures in Alterna- 




in Alternative B, plus: 


improved. 


tive A except: 




•2 additional pullouts/ 


•Road maintenance on as 


•4 pullouts/parking. 




parking. 


needed basis. 


•More extensive road 




•Road maintenance 


•Existing road and culvert 


work on drainage cross- 




minimized at rare plant 


maintenance. 


ings. 




sites. 


•Steamboat Ridge and 


•Steamboat Ridge route 




•Steamboat Ridge route 


Dago Gulch routes would 


would remain open, but 




closed; Dago Gulch 


remain open on public 


not be maintained; Dago 




partially closed. 


land, but not be main- 


Gulch partially closed. 




•Public easement or 


tained. 






acquisition up Dago 








Gulch. 






Land Tenure 


•Pursue acquisition of 40- 


•Public ownership, public 


•All measures in Alterna- 




acre private parcel, or 


and scenic easements 


tive A, except water would 




public and scenic ease- 


would not be pursued. 


be piped to Slocum Creek 




ments. 


•No water developments. 


campground if private 




•No water development if 




parcel acquired. 




private parcel acquired. 







Minerals 



Livestock Grazing 



•4900 acres removed 
from locatable mineral 
development. No mineral 
leasing or material sales 
in ACEC. 

•No grazing in Leslie 

Gulch pasture. 

•AUMs moved to other 

pastures. 

•Drift fence built at ACEC 

boundary if needed. 



•Locatable minerals 
withdrawn. No mineral 
leases. Salable minerals 
available outside WSAs. 



•Leslie Gulch pasture 

grazed with 132 cattle in 

March and April (264 

AUMs). 

•Other pastures not 

affected. 

•Cattle trailed in on main 

access road and trailed 

out upper Leslie Gulch. 



•Locatable minerals not 
withdrawn. Leasable and 
saleable minerals not 
available. 



•Leslie Gulch pasture 
grazed with 88 cattle 
December through 
February (264 AUMs). 
•Other pastures not 
affected. 

•Cattle trailed in on 
abandoned portions of 
Runaway Gulch road to 
avoid special status plant 
site. 



Noxious Weeds 



•Manual weed control 
only. 

•Clean road maintenance 
equipment before enter- 
ing ACEC. 



•Existing combination of 
manual and chemical 
weed control. 



•Existing combination of 
manual and chemical 
weed control. 
•Weed free hay required 
for horses. 



10 



Resource 


Alternative A 


Alternative B 


Alternative C 


Topic 








Wild Horses 


•Leslie Gulch removed 


•Existing Horse Manage- 


•Existing Horse Manage- 




from Horse Management 


ment Area retained. 


ment Area retained. 




Area. 






Special Status Plants 


•Trail rerouted in Slocum 


•No changes in current 


•All measures in Alterna- 




Creek to avoid rare plant 


level of protection, which 


tive A. 




sites. 


is limited OHV designa- 


•Exclosure constructed 




•Other trails around plant 


tion. 


around special status 




sites developed if 




plant site near Overlook. 




needed. 








•Pole fence constructed 








near Slocum Creek 








campground if needed. 








•0.75 mile of Dago Gulch 








closed by locked gate. 






Wildlife 


•Bighorn sheep transplant 


•No limits on bighorn 


•No limits on bighorn 




operations based at 


sheep transplant base 


sheep transplant opera- 




Slocum Creek camp- 


operations. 


tions. 



ground or BOR lands. 
•Placement of wormer 
blocks or other supple- 
ments reviewed. 



Wildfire 



•No earth moving equip- 
ment unless extreme fire 
conditions occur. 
•No earth moving equip- 
ment in cultural or rare 
plant sites. 

•IMP provisions apply to 
WSAs. 

•Wilderness Management 
Policy followed if desig- 
nated Wilderness. 
•Fire suppression impacts 
on ACEC values would be 
monitored. 



•All measures as in 
Alternative A. 



•All measures as in 
Alternative A. 



Rock Climbing 



•No fixed anchors, 
artificial handholds, or 
power tools. 
•Chalk use discouraged. 



•Allow existing fixed 
anchors, artificial 
handholds only at 
Einstein. No power tools. 
Mitigated chalk use. 



•Climbing allowed with 
BLM approval. Limited 
power tool use. No new 
routes or artificial 
handholds. Mitigated 
chalk use. 



Dispersed Recreation 



•Day use only outside 
developed campground. 
•No ground/campfires 
outside developed camp- 
grounds. No use of area 
vegetation. 

•Administrative horse use 
only. 
•Trails developed if needed. 



•Camping and ground 
fires allowed throughout. 
•Ground fires allowed. 
•Horse use allowed. 
•Site-specific trails would 
be constructed. 



•Camping allowed except 

within 0.5 mile of roads. 

•No ground fires. 

•Horse use allowed on 

roads and ridges; group 

size limited. Weed free hay 

required. 

•Trails developed if 

needed. 

11 



Resource 


Alternative A 


Alternative B 


Alternative C 


Topic 








Special Use Permits 


•Permitted group size 


•Permits issued on case- 


•Permits issued on case- 




limited to 6 persons 


by-case basis. 


by-case basis. 




maximum. 


•Visitor access not 


•Backcountry access 




•Backcountry access 


restricted. 


permit system imple- 




permit system imple- 




mented if needed. 




mented if needed. 








•No vegetation/rock 








gathering permits. 






Off Highway Vehicle 


•Limited to designated 


•Limited to existing 


•Limited to existing 


(OHV) Use 


roads. 

•Steamboat Ridge vehicle 
route closed. 
•Dago Gulch road par- 
tially closed. 


designated routes. 


designated routes. 


Special Designations 


•Back Country Byway and 


•WSA, SRMA, RNA, Back 


•WSA, SRMA, RNA, Back 




Watchable Wildlife 


Country Byway, and 


Country Byway, and 




designations removed. 


Watchable Wildlife 


Watchable Wildlife 




•Other designations 


designations would 


designations would 




would remain. 


remain. 


remain. 


Developed Recreation 


•Existing facilities would 


•All existing facilities 


•Slocum Creek camp- 


Facilities 


remain except relocation 


would remain. 


ground expanded to 15- 




of one restroom to Dago 


•Additional camp units 


20 camp units. Potable 




Gulch or upper Leslie 


developed at Slocum 


water and parking devel- 




Gulch. 


Creek campground. 


oped. 




•10 campsites provided at 


•No restriction on vehicle 


•Day use parking with 




Slocum Creek camp- 


camping outside WSAs. 


restrooms and equestrian 




ground. 


•No additional parking 


camp site at Dago Gulch. 




•Day use parking area at 


areas. 


•Day use parking at upper 




Dago Gulch if private land 


•No additional potable 


Leslie Gulch. 




acquired or upper Leslie 


water. 


•Added parking, docks, 




Gulch if private land not 




and waste facility at boat 




acquired. 




launch. 




•No additional potable 




•Day use picnic area with 




water. 




foot trail near boat launch. 
•Day use picnic area at 








Juniper Gulch. 



12 



parking areas would be located at the mouths of 
small drainages, one in the SW 1/4 of section 2 
and one in the SW 1/4 of section 13. 

• Road width, maintenance practices and design 
would be analyzed where the Leslie Gulch Road 
crosses identified rare plant sites to identify 
opportunities to reduce conflicts with the plants. 
Road realignment would not be considered. 

• The Steamboat Ridge vehicle route would be 
permanently closed and revegetated with native 
vegetation. 

• A public easement into Dago Gulch would be 
pursued if the private land at the mouth of Dago 
Gulch were not acquired. A locked gate would be 
installed in Dago Gulch immediately above any 
facilities to control vehicle access south on the 
Dago Gulch Road. 

Alternative B 

• Drainage crossings would not be improved beyond 
the existing situation. The crossings would be 
maintained without additional structure to pass 
most storm runoff events while maintaining road 
grade. 

• Road maintenance would be done only as needed. 
The road is graded annually and major work is 
scheduled in response to flood events. 

• Outside the special status plant sites, the road 
maintenance goals would be to retain a graded 
and drained road prism. Procedures to achieve 
this would include cleaning of the roadside ditches, 
backslopes, and crowning of the road surface. 

• Culvert maintenance would include tail ditch 
construction and control of intersecting drainages 
in accordance with IMP guidance. 

• The Steamboat Ridge vehicle route would remain 
open, but would not be maintained. No new gate 
would be placed in Dago Gulch. 

Alternative C 

The measures in Alternative A would be implemented 

with the following 

exceptions: 

• Four additional parking areas would be con- 
structed along the Leslie Gulch Road to reduce 
traffic congestion and improve recreational access. 



In addition to the two parking areas described under 
Alternative A, a parking area would be located at the 
mouth of upper Leslie Gulch and one at the mouth 
of Timber Gulch (NW 1/4 section 14). 

• More extensive road work would be allowed on the 
drainage crossings of the Leslie Gulch Road. This 
work could include drop structures located below 
crossings to control headcutting, or short sections of 
paving of the crossingsthemselves. 

• The Steamboat Ridge vehicle route would remain 
open, but would not be maintained. 

Management Alternatives For Land 
Tenure 

Alternative A 

• Acquisition of the 40-acre private parcel at the 
junction of Leslie and Dago gulches would be 
pursued. A public easement to Dago Gulch and a 
scenic easement would be optionally pursued. 

• Should public acquisition of the land occur, the 
property would be reclaimed to a natural state by 
removal of all developments and revegetation with 
native species. Wildlife water would be made 
available at the site. No potable water would be 
made available for public consumption. 

Alternative B 

• Public ownership, public access or scenic ease- 
ments would not be pursued on the 40-acre Dago 
Gulch property. There would continue to be no 
potable water available on public land. 

Alternative C 

• The actions described under Alternative A would be 
pursued, with the following exception: Should the 
parcel be acquired for public ownership, a portion of 
the water at Mud Spring would be piped to the 
Slocum Creek Campground and be treated for 
public consumption. The pipeline would be buried 
in the access road. Other options may be consid- 
ered to supply water to the campground. Adequate 
water would be made available for wildlife at the 
spring site. 



13 



Management Alternatives For Minerals 

Alternative A 

• Approximately 4900 acres of the ACEC (including 
the 40 acre parcel, if acquired) would be with- 
drawn from locatable mineral activity. These lands 
were selected to protect the most critical portions 
of the ACEC while reducing the size of the with- 
drawal to facilitate the withdrawal process. This 
action would require an amendment to the North- 
ern Malheur Management Framework Plan, but 
would not require Congressional action. The entire 
ACEC would also be closed to leasable and 
salable mineral development. 

Alternative B 

• Locatable minerals would be withdrawn and the 
ACEC would be closed to mineral leases as 
recommended in the Northern Malheur Manage- 
ment Framework Plan. Because the area to be 
withdrawn is larger than 5000 acres, the mineral 
withdrawal would require Congressional action. 
Mineral materials (salable minerals) would remain 
available for development outside of any desig- 
nated wilderness. 

Alternative C 

• The ACEC would not be withdrawn from locatable 
mineral activity, mineral leases or sales. Mining 
claims could be located and developed in accor- 
dance with the Mining Law of 1872 and would 
follow IMP guidance within the WSAs. This action 
would require an amendment to the Northern 
Malheur Management Framework Plan. Any areas 
Congressionally designated as wilderness would 
likely be withdrawn from all mineral development 
activity as part of the wilderness designation 
process. 

Management Alternatives For Live- 
stock Grazing 

Alternative A 

• The Leslie Gulch pasture of the Three Fingers 
temporary allotment would have livestock re- 
moved. This is the pasture within the ACEC in 
which the conflicts between livestock and other 
resources, especially sensitive plants, have been 
identified. The livestock use would be moved to 



three other pastures (Saddle Butte, Bannock, and 
Sulphur Springs Seeding) within the Three Fingers 
temporary allotment. 

• Depending upon monitoring, approximately two 
miles of drift fence may be necessary to keep 
cattle from drifting into Leslie Gulch from the 
adjacent Riverside and Bannock pastures. Any 
fence would be located so as to minimize impacts 
to wilderness and scenic values. 

This alternative would require an amendment to the 
Northern Malheur Management Framework Plan. 

Alternative B 

• Grazing the Leslie Gulch Pasture with 132 cattle 
during March and April, (264 AUMs) each year 
would continue. 

• The Saddle Butte, Bannock and Sulfur Springs 
Seeding pastures are grazed from May 1 to 
October 31, in a deferred rotational grazing 
system. 

• Cattle are currently trailed into the Leslie Gulch 
pasture on the Leslie Gulch Road and trailed out 
of the pasture through upper Leslie Gulch. 

Alternative C 

• Grazing would continue in the Leslie Gulch Pas- 
ture with the season of grazing changed to De- 
cember through February with 88 head of cattle. 
This would harvest the same number of AUMs 
(264) as is currently used. 

Livestock would be trailed into the pasture over the 
abandoned portions of the Runaway Gulch Road to 
avoid a special status plant site. 

Management Alternatives For Nox- 
ious Weeds 

Alternative A 

• All weed control in Leslie Gulch would be done 
manually to reduce the chances of inadvertent 
spraying of the special status plants. 

• Horse use would not be allowed within the ACEC 
except for administrative purposes. This would 
reduce the chances of spreading weed seeds into 
isolated portions of the ACEC. 



14 



T, 35 S. , 



LESLIE GULCH 

AREA OF CRITICAL ENVIRONMENTAL CONCERN 

1 MI. 2 MI. 




/ / / / 7 
/ / / / / 
/ / / / / 
/ / / / / 
/ / / / / 

/ / s / s 
/ / s / / 



/ / / / / 
s / s s / 
s / / s / 
/ s / s / 
/ / / / / 
s s s ' s 



7777? 

s s / s * 
s / s / * 
s / s / * 
S S S / / 
s / / / * 
/ / S / y 
/ / S / > 
S / / / , 
/ / / / j 
/ / / / j 



\ss//ss////*ssss\ 



Ol 



• Road maintenance equipment would be cleaned 
with high pressure water prior to being used in the 
ACEC to reduce the potential for introduction of 
weed seeds. 

Alternative B 

• The existing combination of manual and chemical 
control methods would continue to be utilized. 

• Unlimited recreational horse use would continue. 

• Road maintenance equipment would not be 
cleaned. 

Alternative C 

• In addition to continuing the existing combination 
of manual and chemical weed control methods, 
weed-free hay would be required of anyone using 
horses within the ACEC. 



Management Alternatives For 
Special Status Plants 

Alternative A 

• Site-specific trail segments would be developed in 
Slocum Creek to avoid special status plant sites. 
Other trails would be developed around identified 
plant sites if monitoring indicates a need. 

• A pole fence would be constructed at the plant site 
adjacent to the Slocum Creek campground should 
monitoring indicate a need. 

• A locked gate would be installed in Dago Gulch 
immediately above any developed facilities to 
control vehicle access to the special status plant 
sites along the Dago Gulch Road. 

Alternative B 



• Road maintenance equipment would be cleaned 
prior to moving into the ACEC to reduce the 
potential for introduction of weed seeds. 

Management Alternatives For Wild 
Horses 



• Under current management, special status plants 
receive some level of protection from off the 
highway vehicle designation and IMP guidance for 
WSAs. Vehicular impacts are controlled by the 
"limited" OHV designation. 

Alternative C 



Alternative A 

• Leslie Gulch ACEC would be removed from the 
Herd Management Area. Any wild horses that 
move into the ACEC would be gathered and 
removed. This action would require an amend- 
ment to the Northern Malheur Management 
Framework Plan. 

Alternative B 

• The existing wild horse management plan would 
continue, with wild horses allowed to use the 
Leslie Gulch ACEC as part of their range. 

Alternative C 

• The existing wild horse management plan would 
continue, with wild horses allowed to use the 
Leslie Gulch ACEC as part of their range. 



• In addition to the provisions of Alternative A, an 
exclosure would be constructed to protect a 
special status plant site near the overlook from 
livestock. Other exclosures would be constructed 
around special status plant sites if monitoring 
indicates a need. 

Management Alternatives For Wild- 
life 

Alternative A 

• Bighorn sheep transplant operations would only be 
based at the Slocum Creek campground or on 
Bureau of Reclamation lands along the Owyhee 
Reservoir. 

• Any wormer blocks or feed supplement place- 
ments for the bighorn sheep would be reviewed to 
evaluate impacts to ACEC values. 



16 



Alternative B 

• Locations of areas used for bighorn sheep trans- 
plant base operations would be limited only by IMP 
considerations. Slocum Creek campground has 
been used in the past. 

Alternative C 

• Locations of areas used for bighorn sheep trans- 
plant base operations would be limited only by IMP 
considerations. Slocum Creek campground has 
been used in the past. 

Management Alternatives For Wild- 
fire 

Alternative A 

The existing Vale District Fire Management Activity 
Plan would continue to govern fire suppression 
activities throughout the Vale District. 

• Earth-moving equipment would not be used unless 
a fire has flame lengths of six feet or more (ex- 
treme fire conditions) without Area Manager 
approval . 

• No earth-moving equipment would be utilized on 
any identified special status plant site or 
archaeologically significant area. 

• IMP guidance would be followed within the Wilder- 
ness Study Area portions of the ACEC. If the areas 
are designated Wilderness, then Wilderness 
Management Policy would be followed. 

• Naturally occurring fires would not be used for 
resource enhancement (e.g., 

sagebrush control) except where flame length is less 
than two feet. 

Alternative B 

The existing Vale District Fire Management Activity 
Plan would continue to govern fire suppression 
activities throughout the Vale District. 

Alternative C 

The existing Vale District Fire Management Activity 
Plan would continue to govern fire suppression 
activities throughout the Vale District. 



Management Alternatives For Rec- 
reation 

All Alternatives 

The following management actions would apply 

under all recreation 

alternatives: 

• The Memorandum of Understanding between the 
Bureau of Land Management and the Bureau of 
Reclamation would be retained and revised as 
needed. 

• The lockable gate at the overlook at the head of 
Runaway Gulch would be retained to close the 
ACEC, if necessary, for public safety reasons. 

• A Sign Plan would be developed for the ACEC for 
the placement of safety, directional and interpre- 
tive signs. A brochure about the Leslie Gulch area 
would be provided. 

• Handicapped access would be provided at se- 
lected developed facilities. 

• Shooting restrictions would be enforced around 
developed facilities for public safety. 

• There would be no organized competitive or 
commercial rock climbing, and no new alteration of 
natural hand/foot holds; Temporary rock climbing 
hardware would not be left on walls; and BLM 
approval would be required for maintenance or 
removal of fixed anchors and other artificial 
constructs. 

Alternative A 
Rock Climbing 

• Rock climbing with fixed anchors or artificially 
constructed hand holds would be precluded within 
the ACEC. Power tools would not be permitted and 
chalk use would be discouraged. 

Dispersed Recreation 

• All recreational activities would be limited to day 
use only. Camping and ground fires would be 
restricted to the Slocum Creek campground. 

• Recreational horse use would not be allowed 
within the ACEC. 



17 



• Trails would be developed if monitoring indicates a 
need. 

Special Use Permits 

• Any activity requiring a permit would be limited to a 
maximum of six persons. 

• Vegetation or Rock Gathering Permits would not 
be issued. 

• A backcountry visitor access permit system would 
be implemented if monitoring indicated a need for 
the protection of resource values. 

Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) Use 

• The present Limited OHV use designation would 
remain in effect for designated roads (Runaway 
Creek/Leslie Gulch and Dago Gulch). The Steam- 
boat Ridge vehicle route would be closed. Vehicle 
access to Dago Gulch would be consistent with 
the private right-of-way and controlled with a 
locked gate located immediately above any 
developed facilities. The remainder of the ACEC 
would remain closed to off-road vehicle use. 

Special Designations 

• The Back Country Byway and Watchable Wildlife 
designations would be removed to reduce promo- 
tion of visitation to the ACEC. The Wilderness 
Study Area, Special Recreation Management Area, 
and Research Natural Area designations would 

be retained. 

Developed Recreation Facilities 

• Existing facilities would remain unchanged, except 
the restroom adjacent to the private parcel would 
be moved to Dago Gulch if the private land there is 
acquired by the BLM. Optionally, the restroom 
would be placed at upper Leslie Gulch. A day use 
parking area would also be developed at the 
mouth of Dago Gulch if the private land is acquired 
or at the mouth of upper Leslie Gulch if the land is 
not acquired. 

• Ten campsites would be developed at the Slocum 
Creek campground within the existing campground 
area. 

• No potable water would be made available. 



Alternative B 

Rock Climbing 

• Existing fixed anchors and constructed hand holds 
would be allowed only at the Einstein climbing site 
in upper Leslie Gulch. Climbers would remove or 
mitigate existing fixed hardware and hand holds in 
other areas. Power tools would not be allowed, 
and chalk use would be mitigated. Group size and 
frequency of site-specific use would be limited if 
monitoring indicates a need for protection of 
resource values. 

Dispersed Recreation 

• Camping and ground fires would be permitted 
throughout the area. Down and dead vegetation 
could be used for campfires. 

• Horse use would be allowed throughout the area. 

• Site-specific trail segments would be constructed 
to protect sensitive resource values. 

• The Owyhee Breaks trailhead for hiking would not 
be established. 

Special Use Permits 

• Special Recreation Use Permits, Land Use Per- 
mits and Vegetation/Rock Gathering permits would 
be issued on a case-by-case basis consistent with 
management of ACEC values and IMP guidance. 

• No visitor access permit system is planned for this 
alternative. 

Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) Use 

• The present vehicle use designation would remain 
as Limited to designated routes (Runaway/Leslie 
Gulch, Dago Gulch, and Steamboat Ridge only). 
All other areas would remain closed to off-highway 
vehicle use. 

Special Designations 

• The Wilderness Study Area, Special Recreation 
Management Area, Research Natural Area, Back 
Country Byway, and Watchable Wildlife designa- 
tions would be retained. 

Developed Recreation Facilities 

• All existing developed day use and camping 
facilities would remain, and additional specific 



18 



camp units with tables and grills would be devel- 
oped at Slocum Creek campground within the 
existing campground area. 

• No additional parking areas or potable water would 
be developed. 

• There would be no restriction on vehicle camping 
outside the WSA boundaries. 

Alternative C 
Rock Climbing 

• Existing fixed anchors would remain. Existing 
partially completed climbing routes may be com- 
pleted with BLM approval, but no new climbing 
routes would be allowed. Measures to minimize 
resource impacts and public hazards would be 
enforced. Additions at the Einstein site would not 
be allowed. The use of power tools would be 
allowed in WSAs with BLM approval, but not in 
designated wilderness areas. Chalk use would be 
mitigated. Group size and frequency of the site- 
specific use would be limited if monitoring indi- 
cates a need to protect resource values. 

• Rock climbers would be directed away from known 
raptor nests or bat roosting sites. 

Dispersed Recreation 

• Camping would be allowed throughout the ACEC 
except within 0.5 mile of the Leslie Gulch Road. 
Backcountry campsites would be designated if 
monitoring indicates the need to protect resource 
values. 

• Vegetation gathering for camp fire fuel would not 
be permitted. Camp fires would be limited to the 
grills provided at the Slocum Creek campground. 

• Horse use would be allowed on roads and ridges 
with limits placed on group sizes. Weed-free hay 
would be required. 

• Short trail segments would be developed to protect 
resource values if monitoring indicates a need. 

• An Owyhee Breaks Trailhead would be developed 
in conjunction with one of the 

vehicle parking areas. 



Special Use Permits 

• Special Recreation Use Permits, Land Use Per- 
mits and Vegetation/Rock Gathering permits would 
be issued on a case-by-case basis consistent with 
ACEC values and IMP guidance. 

• A visitor access permit system would be imple- 
mented if monitoring indicated a 

need to protect resource values. 

Off-highway Vehicle (OHV) Use 

• The vehicle use designation would remain as 
Limited to existing roads (Runaway/Leslie Gulch, 
Dago Gulch and Steamboat Ridge). The remain- 
der of the ACEC would remain closed to off- 
highway vehicle use. 

Special Designations 

• The Wilderness Study Area, Special Recreation 
Management Area, Research Natural Area, Back 
Country Byway, and Watchable Wildlife designa- 
tions would be retained. 

Developed Recreation Facilities 

• Should any Congressional wilderness designation 
permit, Slocum Creek campground would be 
expanded and then developed to contain 15 to 20 
designated camping units outside of any wilder- 
ness. Potable water would be available at the site, 
and day use parking would be constructed. 
Camping with horses would be permitted only at a 
Dago Gulch designated equestrian campsite. 

• Dago Gulch would have a day use parking site, a 
restroom and an equestrian campsite. Parking 
would also be provided at upper Leslie Gulch. 

• The Owyhee boat launching facility would have 
additional parking, docks and a waste disposal 
facility for river floaters. 

• Additional recreational facilities would be devel- 
oped at the hill south south of the Owyhee boat 
launch to include a day use picnic area with four to 
six tables/grills and a foot trail. Also, a single picnic 
table/grill would be provided at the mouth of 
Juniper Gulch. 



19 



Management Alternatives 
Not Analyzed 

Total closure of Leslie Gulch by locking the gate near 
the overlook and allowing access only by permit 
could reduce many of the identified resource con- 
flicts. This alternative is not considered further since 
actions proposed in the alternatives analyzed would 
provide adequate protection for the relevant and 
important values of the ACEC. 

Suspension of livestock use for several years could 
permit evaluation of the effects of grazing on special 
status species and their habitat. This alternative is 
not viable because it would have a similar impact to 
the grazing permittees as total removal of grazing 
from the Leslie Gulch Pasture. 

Livestock impacts to special status plant sites could 
be controlled by fencing all of the identified plant 
sites. This alternative would require a large amount of 
fence and would not conform with IMP guidance or 
visual resource management. 

The alternative to increase livestock grazing in the 
Leslie Gulch pasture from the current 264 AUMs to 
the 948 AUM carrying capacity was considered but is 
not analyzed in detail. Increased livestock grazing 
would not be compatible with the relevant and 
important values identified within the ACEC. 

Resource Management 
Topics 

In this section, each of the resource management 
topics is considered individually. A narrative de- 
scribes the factors which influence management 
prescriptions, and an analysis is then made of the 
anticipated impacts of each alternative on that topic. 
To enable tracking of the origin of a particular action, 
a topic heading is added to blocks of potential actions 
in each alternative. Monitoring needs for each topic 
are also listed in this section. 

Access And Roads 

Factors Which Influence Management 
Prescriptions 

The Leslie Gulch Road has a 200-foot wide public 
right-of-way which protects public access. Where the 



road crosses the 40-acre private parcel at the junc- 
tion of Leslie and Dago Gulches, a 100-foot wide 
perpetual easement has been retained for public 
access. 

The Leslie Gulch Road was inadvertently constructed 
through several special status plant sites. When the 
present road was constructed in I969, the signifi- 
cance of these plant populations unknown. Annual 
road maintenance and the disruption of surface water 
flows by the road may be impacting plants within 
these sites. 

A private right-of-way across public land has been 
granted for the road in Dago Gulch. This right-of-way 
is a nonexclusive, nonpossessory right-of-way which 
provides legal access for the owner of the private 
lands at the head of Dago Gulch. Although this road 
connects physically with the Leslie Gulch Road, there 
is no legal public access across the private land at 
the mouth of Dago Gulch. The few hundred feet of 
Dago Gulch road across this private parcel could 
legally be closed to the public by the private land- 
owner. 

The primitive road along the top of Steamboat Ridge 
once provided access to a horse trap that was used 
for gathering wild horses. The trap has not been used 
for many years. This route leaves the Leslie Gulch 
Road near the overlook and crosses approximately 
0.25 mile of the ACEC before following the ridge top 
for several miles. This is not a constructed road and 
has no right-of-way or easement. Current use is 
limited to providing recreational access for hunters 
during big game season. Trespass vehicle use is 
spreading from this route into the Honeycombs WSA. 
The steep grade of the road is causing accelerated 
soil erosion. 



Impacts Of Alternatives On 
Access And Roads 

Alternative A 

Access and Roads 

• Addition of two parking areas would reduce road 
congestion and improve backcountry access along 
the Leslie Gulch Road. Road congestion would be 
significantly reduced at upper Leslie Gulch which 
now receives occasional heavy use, should 
parking be provided there or at Dago Gulch. 



20 



• Where the Leslie Gulch Road passes through 
identified special status plant sites, alternative 
road maintenance practices could result in a 
rougher, less passable road for short distances. 
The extent of this change would be dependent 
upon the specific modifications to maintenance 
which are implemented; however, the road would 
remain passable for highway vehicles. 

• There would be no vehicle access to Steamboat 
Ridge. The small amount of soil erosion which is 
occuring along the road would decrease over time. 

Land Tenure 

• Acquisition of ownership or public easement of the 
Dago Gulch private parcel would guarantee public 
access to Dago Gulch. 

Special Status Plants 

• Should public access be acquired into Dago 
Gulch, the added locked gate in the gulch would 
remove public vehicle access to approximately 
0.75 mile of road. 



Land Tenure 

• The owner of the 40-acre parcel at Dago Gulch 
could legally close public access to Dago Gulch. 
Without this legal access, the public would not 
have a means to visit public lands in Dago Gulch, 
except by hiking over excessively steep terrain or 
by back country access. 

Special Status Plants 

• Since public vehicle access to the lower 0.75 mile 
of the gulch would remain, there would be in- 
creased potential for impacts to special status 
plants along the road. 

Recreation 

• Eliminating rock climbing from the Asylum site 
would remove this distraction to motorists. The 
road corridor's natural setting would also be 
enhanced. There would be some parking conges- 
tion and damage to vegetation at the upper Leslie 
Gulch trailhead area due to continued use of the 
"Einstein" site. 



Recreation 

• Removal of all sport rock climbing from the ACEC 
would reduce congestion at the upper Leslie Gulch 
parking area and remove the distraction that rock 
climbers present to drivers on the road. This would 
enhance the quality of sightseeing for motorists. 

• The Leslie Gulch Road and developed facilities 
would be available to vehicle use. 

Alternative B 
Access and Roads 



• Under the Limited OHV designation, there would 
be public vehicle access over the Leslie Gulch, 
Dago Gulch, Steamboat Ridge roads and all 
developed facilities. This designation would 
continue to preclude OHV use on all other areas of 
the ACEC. 

Alternative C 

Access and Roads 

• The addition of four parking areas would improve 
road congestion and back country access more 
than the other alternatives. 



With no new parking areas, road congestion and 
back country access would not be improved under 
this alternative. 

The Steamboat Ridge Road would remain open to 
general public vehicle use; Slightly accelerated soil 
erosion would continue along the Steamboat 
Ridge road. Legal vehicle access to public lands in 
Dago Gulch would not be available. 



• The more extensive improvements proposed for 
the drainage crossings under this alternative would 
improve the quality of access along the road. 
These improvements could also reduce the 
amount of road maintenance necessary at the 
crossings. 

Special Status Plants 

• The added locked gate in Dago Gulch would 
remove public vehicle access to approximately 
0.75 mile of road. 



21 



Recreation 



Minerals 



• Rock climbing activity viewed by motorists driving 
along the Leslie Gulch Road could distract drivers 
and disrupt to the natural setting. 

• Under the Limited OHV designation, there would 
be public vehicle access over the Leslie Gulch, 
Dago Gulch, Steamboat Ridge roads and all 
developed facilities. This designation would 
continue to preclude OHV use on all other areas of 
theACEC. 

Land Tenure 

Factors Which Influence Management 
Prescriptions 

Potential acquisition of private lands by the BLM must 
be consistent with the prescribed mission of the 
agency. Protection of the naturalness of the wilder- 
ness study areas and the Relevant and Important 
value of high quality scenery dictates analyzing 
characteristics of adjacent lands which might conflict 
with these values. The existence of structures 
immediately adjacent to the three wilderness study 
areas within the otherwise mostly natural setting of 
the ACEC conflicts with wilderness and scenic 
values. 

Impacts Of Alternatives On Land Tenure 
Alternative A 

• Public acquisition of the 40-acre parcel at Dago 
Gulch would reduce the Malheur County tax base 
by approximatly $350.00. 

Alternative B 

• Malheur County would continue to collect the 
approximatly $350.00 in property taxes from the 
owner of the 40-acre private parcel. 

Alternative C 

• Public acquisition of the 40-acre parcel at Dago 
Gulch would reduce the Malheur County tax base 
by approximatly $350.00. 



Factor Which Influence Management 
Prescriptions 

Although there are presently no mining claims within 
the ACEC, the area is currently open for the location 
of mining claims. Under the Interim Management 
Policy and Guidelines for Lands under Wilderness 
Review, mineral exploration and development on 
mining claims within Wilderness Study Areas, as with 
all activities, is regulated to protect wilderness 
values. Since October of 1990, no surface disturbing 
work which would require reclamation has been 
allowed within WSAs in Oregon. Any Congressionally 
designated wilderness would likely be withdrawn from 
beatable, leasable and salable mineral activity. 

In the portions of the ACEC which are outside of the 
Wilderness Study Areas, claims can be located and 
mineral development could proceed as provided for 
in the General Mining Law of 1872. Development of 
the these claims would be regulated by the 43 CFR 
3809 regulations to eliminate unnecessary and undue 
degradation of the federal lands. Claimants would 
have the basic right to pursue development of the 
claims. 

The Northern Malheur Management Framework Plan 
states that a protective withdrawal from beatable 
mineral activity is to be secured for the Leslie Gulch 
ACEC. This withdrawal would remove 11 ,900 acres 
from mine claim location or development activity 
under the General Mining Law of 1872. Existing 
claims would then be subjected to validity examina- 
tions if development work were proposed following 
the withdrawal. This withdrawal would require Con- 
gressional action to implement since ft is in excess of 
5,000 acres. The MFP also states that the 1 1 ,900 
acre ACEC would be closed to mineral leasing. 

The area is currently open for development of salable 
mineral resources. The National Environmental 
Protection Act requires that a Categorical Exclusion 
or Environmental Assessment be completed prior to 
any proposed gravel or rock removal activity on the 
public lands. In Leslie Gulch this document would 
analyze the potential for impacts to the unique values 
found in the area. 



22 



Impacts Of Alternatives On Minerals 
Management 

Alternative A 
Land Tenure 

• Public acquisition of the 40-acre private parcel 
would make these lands available for the same 
minerals management direction as the remainder 
of the ACEC. Under this alternative, this parcel 
would be withdrawn from all mineral activity. 

Minerals 

• Approximately 7,000 acres of the ACEC would be 
available for locatable mineral development. Until 
Congressional action, the Wilderness Study Area 
portions of the ACEC remain regulated by IMP 
guidance. 

Alternative B 
Land Tenure 

• With no public acquisition of the 40-acre private 
parcel, mineral values would remain controlled by 
the landowner and available for development. 

Minerals 

• Salable minerals only would be available for 
development outside any designated wilderness 
areas. Any proposal for development would be 
analyzed for impacts to the identified values within 
the ACEC, and impacts would require mitigation 
should a proposal be approved. Salable mineral 
development is unlikely within the ACEC. 

Alternative C 

Land Tenure 

• Public acquisition of the 40-acre private parcel 
would make these lands available for the same 
minerals management direction as the remainder 
of the ACEC. This parcel would be partially within 
each of the three WSAs if acquired. 

Minerals 

• All mineral values within the ACEC would remain 
available for development outside any designated 
wilderness areas. Although mining claims could be 



staked, any development activity would be regu- 
lated by IMP within the WSA portions of the ACEC. 

Monitoring Needs 

Portions of the ACEC remaining open for mineral 
development would require monitoring of any pro- 
posed activity. Mining claim activity is regulated to 
prevent unnecessary or undue degradation of the 
public lands. Mineral leases and sales have stipula- 
tions attached to minimize or eliminate impacts to 
other resources. BLM personnel would monitor 
activity to insure compliance with regulations and 
applied stipulations. 

Livestock Grazing 

Factors Which Influence Manage- 
ment Prescriptions 

Regulation of grazing began with passage of the 
Taylor Grazing Act in 1934, which has been amended 
with various laws and regulations, including the 
National Environmental Policy Act, Federal Land 
Policy and Management Act, and the Public Range- 
land Improvement Act. 

Livestock use was limited (adjudicated) to carrying 
capacity in this area, known as the Mahogany 
Planning Unit in the early 60s. The adjudication 
reduced the ative grazing preference by 33 percent. 
This reduction was put into a suspended, non-use 
state. 

The latest land use planning was completed in 1984 
with the Southern Malheur Grazing Environmental 
Impact Statement (EIS) and Rangeland Program 
Summary (RPS). In those plans livestock use was 
allocated and objectives were set specifically by 
pasture for the EIS area, which included the pastures 
within the ACEC. The pastures within the ACEC 
were identified as Leslie Gulch and Bannock within 
the Mahogany allotment (0500). The allotment at 
that time contained 327,129 federal acres, and 
grazing preference was allotted at 34,848 AUMs. 

In 1984 the Mahogany allotment was divided into five 
permanent and six temporary allotments. A 1988 
decision to make the temporary allotments perma- 
nent is currently under appeal. The Bannock and 
Leslie Gulch pastures are within the Three Fingers 
temporary allotment which has 9,981 active and 



23 



4,653 suspended AUMs with four grazing permittees. 
Currently the two pastures are used by two of the 
permittees, Bud Greeley and Delbert Allison. 

Livestock actual use records for the area exist since 
1973. At that time the Leslie Gulch pasture was 
considered a part of the Riverside pasture, adjacent 
to and immediately north of the Leslie Gulch pasture. 
The two pastures are divided only by natural barriers, 
and a small amount of livestock movement can take 
place between the two pastures. Use from 1973 until 
1979 in the two pastures was with up to 1400 cattle 
and 3500 AUMs, between April and December. In 
1979, Leslie Gulch was recognized as a separate 
pasture and livestock use was greatly reduced. 
Present use of the Leslie Gulch pasture is 132 cattle 
with 264 AUMs from March 1 to April 30. 

The Bannock pasture is used by approximately 450 
cattle from May 1 to October 31 in a deferred rotation 
grazing system with three additional pastures, with 
use being deferred after the critical growth period of 
key forage species (approximately July 1) two out of 
three years. 

An allotment evaluation completed in 1990 estimated 
the livestock carrying capacity in Leslie Gulch pas- 
ture at 948 AUMs and Bannock pasture at 928 AUMs. 
Trend of upland vegetation was improving in the 
Bannock pasture and not apparent for the Leslie 
Gulch pasture. Utilization studies of key forage 
species have been conducted in the Leslie Gulch 
pasture since 1985, with the highest recorded 
utilization of key forage species being 16 percent. 
Utilization studies in the Bannock pasture from 1978 
to 1989 indicated the average utilization of key forage 
species was 39 percent. 

Impacts Of Alternatives On Live- 
stock Grazing 

Alternative A 
Livestock Grazing 

• The livestock operators would be required to alter 
their operations by finding alternative feed and 
pasture for the 132 cattle from March 1 to April 30. 
This cost would be offset by the saving of feed and 
pasture costs for the September and October 
grazing period under this alternative. 

• The potential for activation of suspended AUMs 
held by these and other permittees in the allotment 
would be decreased by the 264 AUMs that would 



be shifted to other parts of the allotment because 
of the loss of use of this pasture. The possibility of 
future reductions in active preference would be 
increased as a result of a loss of the use of this 
pasture and the increased use in the other parts of 
the allotment. 

• The lower serai vegetative conditions of the 
bottom areas near the Owyhee Reservoir should 
improve over time due to the restricted period of 
use and the low utilization levels of key perennial 
forage species. The rate of improvement may be 
slightly slower than under Alternatives A or C. 

Alternative B 
Livestock Grazing 

• This alternative would not affect the present 
livestock operations. 

• The lower serai vegetative conditions in lower 
canyon bottom sites should improve over time due 
to the current low utilization levels of key perennial 
forage species. The rate of improvement would be 
lower than under alternatives A and C. 

Alternative C 
Livestock Grazing 

• The livestock operators would be required to alter 
their operations by finding alternative feed and 
pasture for the 132 cattle from March 1 to April 30. 
This cost would be offset by the saving of feed and 
pasture costs for the 88 head of cattle that would 
graze the pasture from 12/1 to 2/28. The other 
permittees in the allotment would not be affected. 

• The lower serai vegetative conditions of the 
bottom areas near the Owyhee Reservoir should 
improve over time due to low utilization levels of 
key perennial forage species and due to grazing 
during the dormant season of these species. 

Monitoring Needs 

Trend studies would be established within the ACEC 
to determine changes in plant composition in areas 
used by livestock. Forage utilization data and live- 
stock use data would be continued to be collected 
annually to determine pattern and amount of vegeta- 
tion removed by grazing animals. Use supervision of 
grazing and monitoring for unauthorized use includ- 
ing drift of livestock from the adjacent Bannock and 
Riverside pastures would continue. 



24 



Noxious Weeds 

Factors Which Influence 
Management Prescriptions 

Noxious weeds present a substantial threat to all 
plants, including the special status species and their 
habitats. These exotics, capable of growing on a 
wide variety of soil types, are aggressive competitors, 
eliminating or replacing native vegetation. Three 
noxious weeds have been identified in the Leslie 
Gulch ACEC: Scotch thistle (Onopordum 
acanthium), whitetop {Cardaria draba) and St. John's 
wort (Hypericum perforatum). Invading biennial 
Scotch thistle has been found in road corridors from 
the overlook to the Owyhee Reservoir; five sites of 
the perennial, rhizomatous whitetop are established 
adjacent to the Leslie Gulch Road with the colonies 
beginning to extend into native vegetation. Within 
the past five years, increasing numbers of both of 
these species have been observed along the road- 
ways east of the ACEC. St. John's wort has been 
found at one site in Slocum Creek and at one site 
near Mud Spring. Biological controls have not been 
found for whitetop or Scotch thistle. A beetle is used 
to control severe infestations of St. John's wort. 
Potential invasion by other species, such as the 
knapweeds (Centaurea spp.) and yellow starthistle 
{Centaurea solstitialis), presents additional threats to 
native plants. 

Limited chemical control (spraying) of Scotch thistle 
has occurred at the overlook, and all three noxious 
weed species have been manually removed during 
the past two field seasons. A Pesticide Use Permit 
(PUP) has been developed by the Vale District for 
Leslie Gulch which permits limited chemical control of 
noxious weeds from the overlook site to the Owyhee 
Reservoir under the purview of a botanist or indi- 
vidual designated by the botanist. This PUP has 
been developed in accordance with the Northwest 
Area Noxious Weed Control Program EIS Supple- 
ment dated 05/05/87. 

Manual control methods are somewhat effective for 
controlling scattered individuals of noxious weeds. In 
dense stands or when the weed species spread by 
rhizomes, manual control methods are much less 
effective. Generally, the most effective control is a 
combination of spraying when the plants are green 
and manual removal of any developed seed heads. 
Extensive and dense stands of noxious weeds make 
manual control extremely costly and ineffective. In 
these situations, the most satisfactory mode of 
control includes site-specific, carefully-controlled 



spraying in the spring. For whitetop, chemical 
application when the plants are green and budding, 
but prior to bloom, so that the herbicide can be 
translocated into the rhizomes, is most effective. 
Manual control of scattered Scotch thistle and St. 
John's wort is effective. 

Impacts Of Alternatives On 
Noxious Weeds 

Alternative A 
Access and Roads 

• Additional parking areas would remove native 
vegetation and provide a disturbed habitat for 
colonization by weeds. 

• Closure and successful rehabilitation of the 
Steamboat Ridge vehicle route would eliminate the 
open niches favorable to weed establishment. 

Land Tenure 

• With acquisition of the 40-acre private parcel, 
aggressive weed control activities could be pur- 
sued by the BLM on the land. 

Minerals 

• any mineral exploration or development on 
approximately 7,000 acres may disturb native 
vegetation and create open areas available for 
colonization by weeds. No disturbance to native 
vegetation would occur on the approximately 
4,900 acres withdrawn from locatable mineral 
activity. 

Noxious Weeds 

• Manual weed control alone has limited effect in 
controlling noxious weeds. Difficulty of removing 
by hand all the rhizomes of whitetop and other 
rhizomonous species reduces the effectiveness of 
this method when compared to a combination of 
manual and chemical control methods. 

Livestock Grazing 

• With livestock removal from the Leslie Gulch 
pasture, the lower serai vegetative conditions of 
the bottom areas near the Owyhee Reservoir may 
again support perennial native grasses, thus 
helping to eliminate open niches where weeds 
may colonize. 



25 



• The potential for livestock transport of weed seed 
would be eliminated. 

Wild horses 

• Removal of wild horses from the ACEC would 
eliminate the potential for weed seed transport by 
these animals. 

Recreation 

• Restricting permitted group size to a maximum of 
6 persons would reduce the potential of these 
activities to spread noxious weed seeds. 

• Eliminating recreational horse use would help 
reduce dissemination of weed seeds from existing 
sites, as well as eliminate the transportation of 
new invaders into the area through hay and animal 
transport. 

• Removal of the Back Country Byway and 
Watchable Wildlife designations and the limited 
recreational development would reduce the 
number of visitors to the ACEC and reduce the 
potential for the spread of noxious weeds under 
this alternative. 

Alternative B 
Access and Roads 

• Continued use of the Steamboat Ridge road would 
increase the potential for colonization of noxious 
weeds along the road. 

Land Tenure 



Livestock Grazing 

• Continuation of current grazing practices should 
result in improved vegetative conditions in the 
bottom land areas near the Owyhee Reservoir. 
This improvement would help reduce weed 
invasion over time, but the rate of improvement 
would be the slower under this alternative than 
under the other two. 

• The potential for livestock transport of weed seeds 
would continue. 

Wild horses 

• The potential for wild horses to transport weed 
seeds within the ACEC would continue. 

Recreation 

• With no controls on the size of permitted group 
activities, these groups would have a larger 
potential for spreading noxious weed seeds under 
this alternative. 

• With no control over horse use, noxious weed 
seeds could be brought into the area in hay or 
through the horses themselves. 

• Retention of the Back Country Byway and 
Watchable Wildlife designations would likely attract 
more visitors to the area and increase the potential 
for noxious weed spread under this alternative. 

Alternative C 
Access and Roads 



Much of the 40 acre parcel is in a highly disturbed 
and presents fine habitat for establishment of 
exotic species. If this parcel is not acquired, and 
the land owner does not control noxious weeds, 
weeds on this land could provide a significant 
weed seed source for adjacent areas of the ACEC. 



Additional parking areas would remove native 
vegetation and provide a disturbed habitat for 
colonization by weeds. 

The Steamboat Ridge road would remain open for 
colonization of noxious weeds. 



• No disturbances would occur to the land from 
locatable mineral activity, resulting in no new 
niches becoming available for colonization by 
noxious weeds. 

Noxious Weeds 

• The combination of manual and chemical control 
methods should be effective in controlling noxious 
weeds. 



• More extensive road maintenance work also would 
contribute to opening new sites for establishment 
of weeds. 

Land Tenure 

• With acquisition of the 40-acre private parcel, 
weed control activities could be pursued by the 
BLM on the land. 



26 



Minerals 

• All sites disturbed from beatable mineral activities 
would present fresh surfaces available for coloni- 
zation by weeds. 

Noxious Weeds 

• The combination of manual and chemical control 
methods should be effective in controlling noxious 
weeds. 

Livestock Grazing 

• Changing the season of grazing to winter should 
improve vegetative conditions of the bottoms near 
the Owyhee Reservoir. These areas would then be 
less susceptible to weed invasion, but the condi- 
tions would not improve as rapidly as under 
Alternative A. 

• The potential for livestock transport of weed seeds 
would continue. 



Wild Horse Management 

Factors Which Influence 
Management Prescriptions 

The Wild Horse and Burro Act of 1971 provided for 
the management and protection of wild horses. The 
Three Fingers Herd Management Area was estab- 
lished as a result of that act with current boundaries 
and numbers established in the Northern Malheur 
Management Framework Plan of 1983. This plan 
provided for maintaining between 75 and 150 wild 
horses. 

Wild horses are inventoried annually, provided 
funding is available. Currently the horse use occurs 
outside of the ACEC with little or no use within the 
ACEC. Historically significant use by wild horses took 
place within the ACEC, and a horse trap site was 
located in Juniper Gulch with over 200 horses being 
gathered from the area in the late 1960s. 



Wild horses 

• The potential for wild horses to transport weed 
seeds within the ACEC would continue. 

Recreation 

• With no controls on the size of permitted group 
activities, these groups would have a larger 
potential for spreading noxious weed seeds under 
this alternative. 

• Limiting hay use to certified weed-free hay would 
help in reducing introduction of new weeds in the 
ACEC, but the possibility of weed introduction 
through horses would not be totally eliminated. 

• Retention of the Back Country Byway and 
Watchable Wildlife designations and the increased 
recreational developments proposed under this 
alternative would likely attract more visitors to the 
area and increase the potential for noxious weed 
spread. 

Monitoring Needs 

Effectiveness of the various control methods on 
elimination and/or control of existing populations of 
noxious weeds would be monitored. Annual assess- 
ments of rate of spread and occurrences of existing 
and new exotic species in the canyons would be 
made also. 



Impacts Of Alternatives On Wild 
Horses 

Alternative A 

• Removing the Leslie Gulch ACEC from the HMA 
would have few, if any, impacts because the 
horses are not presently utilizing the portion of the 
herd area within the ACEC. The horses have been 
observed within 0.25 mile of the ACEC in recent 
times, and it is probable that they would move into 
the ACEC in the future as this historically was 
horse range. Horses that move into the ACEC 
would be removed initially by moving the horses 
from the ACEC back into the HMA. If the horses 
were to return, they would have to be gathered 
and either moved to other herd areas or put up for 
adoption. 

Alternative B 

• There would be no change to the existing situa- 
tion. Wild horses would continue to be allowed to 
use the ACEC. 

Alternative C 

• There would be no change to the existing situa- 
tion. Wild horses would continue to be allowed to 
use the ACEC. 



27 



Monitoring Needs 

The ACEC will be monitored to determine if and when 
horse use begins. Outside the ACEC, within the 
HMA, horse herd populations, annual forage utiliza- 
tion and vegetation trends would continued to be 
monitored. 

Special Status Plant Species 

Factors Which Influence Manage- 
ment Prescriptions 

At least five special status plant species are found in 
concentrated numbers in the ACEC. Table I in 
Appendix 1 shows the federal candidate species 
being considered for listing under the Endangered 
Species Act, the number of acres of their habitat in 
the Leslie Gulch ACEC, and the total number of 
habitat acres for the entire species range. 

Ertter's groundsel is an annual species, initiating 
growth in early spring and completing its life cycle by 
the end of November. Its global distribution is limited 
to the Leslie Gulch vicinity and to two small sites near 
Birch Creek, approximately six miles southwest of 
Leslie Gulch. Suitable habitat sites have been 
surveyed in the Honeycombs to the north, but only 
one site has been found. Little potential habitat 
remains to be explored for the species, and it is 
anticipated that at least 90 percent of the plant sites 
have been identified. Numbers of plants vary dramati- 
cally based on timing and amount of rainfall in the 
area. 

Packard's blazing star also is an annual species, with 
its life cycle generally completed by late June. It 
grows on the same loose talus rubble as Ertter's 
groundsel but only on the lower slopes and more 
gentle fans which spread out at the base of the talus 
runs. Outside of Leslie Gulch, only a single site in 
northern Nevada is known for this species. Very little 
potential habitat remains to be examined for 
Packard's blazing star, and the likelihood of additional 
site discoveries is slim. 

Grimy ivesia, a perennial herb, grows on five discrete 
sites in the Vale District, three of which are in the 
Leslie Gulch ACEC. One other small site is known 
from Lake County, and two sites have been identified 
in northern Nevada. In spite of it's fairly wide distribu- 
tion, the species is extremely rare. It is restricted in 
our region to barren outcrops of Leslie Gulch Ash- 
Flow Tuff with two to three inches of rubble on top, a 
harsh site with little rooting depth. 



Inventories to locate more populations have been 
unsuccessful. 

Owyhee clover grows on scattered sites in the Leslie 
Gulch ACEC, and also outside the area. All are found 
east of the Owyhee Reservoir. Little is known about 
this species, and it is anticipated that more sites will 
be located with intensive inventory. Succulent 
legumes such as this are palatable to herbivores. 

Of the special status species in the Leslie Gulch 
ACEC, sterile milk-vetch is the most wide-spread 
geographically and in terms of known numbers and 
number of sites, although it is endemic to the Ow- 
yhee Region. It occupies loose ash sites of varying 
colors and textures. An extensive inventory for the 
species has been conducted east of the Owyhee 
Reservoir, and more sites are anticipated to be found 
when a similar inventory can be conducted west of 
the reservoir. 

None of the special status plant species in Leslie 
Gulch are listed as either endangered or threatened 
under the Endangered Species Act of I973. However, 
as candidate species, five of the species are man- 
aged under BLM policy which states that 'The BLM . . 
. shall ensure that actions authorized, funded, or 
carried out do not contribute to the need to list any of 
these species as Threatened or Endangered." (BLM 
Manual 6840.06-C) 

Impacts Of Alternatives On Special 
Status Plants 

Alternative A 

Access and Roads 

• Road maintenance impacts special status plant 
sites along the road which are already in a dis- 
turbed state due to past road construction. A few 
plants continue to occupy this disturbed area 
yearly. Opportunities to minimize borrow ditch 
maintenance at two locations where Ertter's 
groundsel is found may help prevent loss of plants 
at those sites and may result in establishment of 
more plants at these sites. If the road is outsloped 
where the road has disrupted deposition of talus 
outwash any outwash will pass over and form new 
habitat downstream of the road, rather than 
diverting water down the roadside ditch. Seeds of 
the special status species would flow unrestricted 
into the habitat. 



28 



• The two parking areas proposed for construction 
could benefit rare plant habitat elsewhere by 
dispersing recreational use in the canyon. The 
parking area closest to the Owyhee Reservoir 
could direct dispersed hiking into some areas of 
known plant habitat. Damage to rare plants and 
habitat through construction of this parking area 
would be avoided, and subsequent hiker impacts 
would likely be negligible due to the large extent of 
area which could be traversed and the unattractive 
nature of the special status plant habitat. 

Land Tenure 

• Acquisition of the 40-acre private inholding'would 
extend BLM protection measures to one site 
supporting Ertter's groundsel. Reduced recre- 
ational use of this area would result if water 
developments were removed, reducing potential 
impacts to the Ertter's groundsel site. 

Minerals 

• Withdrawal of 4,900 acres of the ACEC from 
beatable mineral activities would protect most of 
the special status plant sites from potential distur- 
bances. 

Livestock Grazing 



the last five years, no wild horses have been 
observed in the ACEC, and consequently no 
impacts of wild horses to rare plants have been 
observed. The potential for wild horse use in the 
area currently exists because the boundary of the 
ACEC is not fenced and the area is administra- 
tively open to wild horse use. 

Special Status Plants 

• Addition of the gate in lower Dago Gulch would 
benefit special status plants by reducing the 
chances of vehicle traffic over the plant sites 
adjacent to the Dago Gulch Road. 

Wildlife 

• Since bighorn sheep were part of the coexisting 
flora and fauna of the area prior to stabilized 
human settlements, maintenance of a viable herd 
of bighorn sheep is considered compatible with 
special status plant management. No studies 
documenting use of bighorns on Owyhee clover 
have been conducted, and the interrelationship 
between the two species is not known, but it is 
likely that bighorns do eat the clover. There are no 
documented impacts by the bighorn or other 
wildlife on the special status plant species in the 
ACEC. 



• Removal of livestock grazing from the Leslie Gulch 
pasture would eliminate all threats to rare plants 
associated with livestock grazing. These threats 
include destruction of habitat through trailing, 
destruction of plants by trampling and ingestion, 
and by transport of weed seeds. The lower serai 
vegetative conditions of the bottom areas near the 
Owyhee Reservoir may again support perennial 
native grasses, thus eliminating open niches 
where weeds may colonize. 

Noxious Weeds 

• Manual weed control alone would eliminate the 
chances that rare plants or any other non-target 
plant species would be inadvertently sprayed. 
Because this control method is less effective than 
others, there would be an increased chance that 
existing weed infestations would expand. 

Wild Horses 

• Removal of wild horses from the ACEC through 
revision of the Horse Management Plan and 
Management Framework Plan would reduce the 
potential for impacts to rare plants, such as 
trampling of habitat and weed dispersal. Within 



Recreation 

• Increased recreational use in the ACEC would 
increase the potential for impacting special status 
plants and plant habitat. Direct impacts include 
disturbance to individual plants and their habitat. 
Indirect effects would include dissemination of 
exotic weed seeds at campsites and on hiking 
trails. Alternative A would have less recreational 
impact than Alternative C, but more than Alterna- 
tive B. 

• Removal of the Back Country Byway and 
Watchable Wildlife designations would reduce the 
potential for recreational impacts to special status 
plants by possibly reducing the rate of increased 
recreational use in the ACEC. 

• Development of site-specific trail segments which 
would route hikers around rare plant sites would 
reduce impacts to these sites. 

• Eliminating recreational horse use would reduce 
dissemination of weed seeds through hay and 
animal transport. Seed dissemination would 
remain a concern during administrative use of 
horses in the ACEC. 



29 



• Instituting a back country permit system would 
allow controls to be placed on the amount of 
recreational use. Such a permit system would 
lessen potential recreational impacts on special 
status plants and their habitat. 

• Limiting Special Recreational Use Permits to a 
maximum party size of six persons would aide in 
the avoidance of special status plant habitat. 

Alternative B 
Access and Roads 

• Road maintenance at current levels affects special 
status plant sites which are already in a disturbed 
state due to past road construction. If kept at 
current levels, disturbance will occur to the borrow 
ditches along which Ertter's groundsel is sporadi- 
cally found. Opportunities to minimize borrow 
ditch maintenance at two locations where Ertter's 
groundsel is found may help prevent loss of plants 
at those sites and may result in greater establish- 
ment of plants on those sites. 

• Keeping Steamboat Ridge road open would have 
no effect on special status plants. 

Land Tenure 

• If the 40-acre private inholding were not acquired, 
BLM protection to one site supporting Ertter's 
groundsel would not be obtained. 

Minerals 

• Withdrawal of the ACEC from locatable minerals 
and closure to leasable mineral activities would 
protect special status plants and their habitats 
from these potential disturbances. Salable miner- 
als would remain available, but would be devel- 
oped only after environmental analysis showed 
that impacts to other values could be mitigated. 

Livestock Grazing 

• Continuation of grazing as currently practiced 
would result in the current threats to the special 
status plants remaining. These threats include 
destruction of habitat through trailing, destruction 
of plants by trampling and ingestion, and transport 
of weed seeds. Local extinctions may occur at 
certain sites due to habitat destruction. 



• The lower serai vegetative conditions of the 
bottom areas near the reservoir should improve 
over time due to the low utilization levels of key 
perennial forage species. The rate of improvement 
may be slightly slower than under Alternatives A 
andC. 

Noxious Weeds 

• Careful use of both mechanical and chemical 
control methods for noxious weeds would be most 
effective in controlling the threat of habitat loss due 
to spread of noxious weeds. There is some risk of 
inadvertent spraying of special status plants under 
this alternative. 

Wild Horses 

• Impacts of wild horses to special status plants, 
including habitat destruction and transport of weed 
seeds, may occur with the area remaining open to 
wild horse use. 

Special status plants 

• With no gate installation in lower Dago Gulch, 
there would continue to be threats by vehicles to 
the special status plant sites along the road there. 

Wildlife 

• Bighorn sheep were part of the coexisting flora 
and fauna of the area prior to stabilized human 
settlements, and maintenance of a viable flock of 
bighorn sheep is compatible with special status 
plant management. No studies documenting use 
of bighorns on Owyhee clover have been con- 
ducted, and the interrelationship between the two 
species is unknown, but it is likely that bighorns do 
eat the clover. There are no documented impacts 
by the bighorn or other wildlife on othe special 
status plant species in the ACEC. 

Recreation 

• With the current level of recreational development 
and restrictions, damage at Dago Gulch and 
Slocum Creek site would continue. The level of 
recreational development proposed under Alterna- 
tive B would make the ACEC the least attractive of 
the three alternatives and result in the least 
recreational impact to special status plants. With 
no control over horse use, noxious weed seeds 
can be brought into the area in hay or through the 
horses themselves. 



30 



Alternative C 
Access and Roads 

• Road maintenance affects special status plant 
sites near the road which are already in a dis- 
turbed state due to past road construction. Oppor- 
tunities to minimize borrow ditch maintenance at 
two locations where Ertter's groundsel is found 
may help prevent loss of plants at those sites and 
more plants may become established. 

• The four parking areas proposed for construction 
are not located in special status plant habitat. 
These pullout areas could benefit special status 
plant habitat elsewhere by dispersing recreational 
use in the ACEC. The proposed new parking area 
closest to the reservoir could direct dispersed 
hiking into some areas of known plant habitat. 
Damage to special status plants and habitat which 
would result through construction of this turnout 
and subsequent hiker dispersal would likely be 
negligible. 

• No effect on special status plants would occur if 
Steamboat Ridge road remains open. 

Land Tenure 

• If the 40-acre private inholding were not acquired, 
BLM protection to one site supporting Ertter's 
groundsel would be foregone. 

Minerals 

• Mineral development activities could destroy and 
displace special status plants. Seed banks con- 
tained within soils could be destroyed, genetic 
diversity reduced, and habitat permanently lost. 
The extent and location of activities would deter- 
mine the severity of impacts to the special status 
plants. Normal reclamation practices would likely 
not be capable of reproducing the conditions 
necessary for plant survival on the unique sub- 
strates upon which the plants grow if the plant 
sites are disturbed. 

Livestock Grazing 

• Changing the season of grazing from the current 
use to winter use would not eliminate mechanical 
damage to grimy ivesia plants since this species 
does not go dormant in winter as do Owyhee 
clover and sterile milk-vetch. Because of the 
succulent nature of this species, a possibility exists 
that the plants would be grazed during this time. 



• The two annual species, Ertter's groundsel and 
Packard's mentzelia, would have fully completed 
their life cycle in the winter, so that no mechanical 
damage to these species would occur with winter 
grazing. 

• With the increased potential for frozen ground in 
the winter, there is reduced chance for soil com- 
paction and disturbance on many special status 
plant sites. The exception would be south slopes 
at lower elevations which receive solar radiation 
and may warm sufficiently to prevent freezing of 
the soil. 

• The lower elevation, south-facing slopes near the 
reservoir provide open and thermally desirable 
areas for livestock to congregate. These areas are 
also near water. Shadscale, which often grows on 
the ash talus which also supports the rare plant 
species, is extensively used by livestock during the 
winter months. These features would attract 
livestock to the high concentration of rare plant 
sites in lower Leslie Gulch and could result in 
increased mechanical damage to the plants and 
plant habitats. 

• Changing the season of grazing to winter should 
lead to improved vegetative conditions of the 
bottoms near the reservoir. These areas would 
then be less susceptible to weed invasion, but the 
conditions may not improve as rapidly as they 
would under alternative A. 

Noxious Weeds 

• Careful use of both mechanical and chemical 
control methods for noxious weeds would be most 
effective in controlling the threat of habitat loss due 
to spread of noxious weeds. There is some risk of 
inadvertent spraying of rare plants under this 
alternative. 

Wild Horses 

• Impacts of wild horses to rare plants, including 
habitat destruction and transport of weed seeds, 
may occur with the area remaining open to wild 
horse use. 

Wildlife 

• Bighorn sheep were part of the coexisting flora 
and fauna of the area prior to stabilized human 
settlements, and maintenance of a viable herd of 
bighorn sheep is compatible with rare plant 
management. No studies documenting use of 
sheep on Owyhee clover have been conducted, 



31 



and the interrelationship between the two species 
is unknown, but it is likely that bighorns do eat the 
clover. There are no documented impacts by the 
bighorn or other wildlife on othe special status 
plant species in the ACEC. 

Recreation 

• The issuance of special recreation use permits for 
competitive events would allow use to be directed 
only to specified areas and would include special 
conditions to be placed on the permits to avoid 
special status plant sites. Limitation of parties to 
six persons also would aid in limiting potential 
impacts to plant sites. 

• Expansion of the campground at Slocum Creek 
would put the campground within 50 feet of a talus 
slope which supports Ertter's groundsel. This 
expansion would increase the possibility that 
campers would impact the site. This impact could 
be partially mitigated by construction of a fence 
and through public education. 

• Providing potable water at the Slocum Creek 
campground would further attract visitors to the 
area, thus increasing chances of impacts to the 
special status plant sites. 

• Requiring that weed free hay be used for recre- 
ational horse use within the ACEC would reduce 
the potential of weed dispersal. This measure 
does not totally eliminate the problem with weed 
dispersal via horses since horses can carry weed 
seeds in hooves or digestive tracts. 

• Development of an equestrian campsite and 
installation of a vault toilet at Dago Gulch is not 
anticipated to have an effect on special status 
plants in Dago Gulch. Camping with horses may 
result in weeds being introduced. 

• Expanding facilities at the boat launch area would 
not directly affect special status plants or their 
habitat; however, impacts to plants can result due 
to increased visitor use of the ACEC resulting from 
improved facilities. 

• Neither of the two proposed picnic areas is antici- 
pated to have an effect on special status plants or 
their habitats. 

• Maintaining the special designations of Scenic 
Byway and Watchable Wildlife, combined with the 
level of recreational development proposed under 
Alternative C would invite more visitor use to the 
ACEC that the other alternatives, increasing the 



likelihood that special status plant sites would be 
affected by recreational activities. 

Monitoring Needs 

The five candidate plant species known to occur in 
Leslie Gulch would be monitored for maintenance of 
habitat and existence of viable populations. Two of 
the species are annuals, notoriously difficult to 
monitor for population viability due to fluctuations in 
numbers due to climatic conditions and unknown 
seed bank dynamics. Disturbances to their habitat 
and invasion by exotic species should be monitored 
several times annually. Plant demographics of the 
perennial species would yield information about the 
natural population dynamics of these three species. 
After a final decision has been reached regarding 
management of the ACEC, a monitoring plan for the 
special status plant species will be written, taking into 
account impacts from recreational use, wild horses, 
mining activity, grazing, and noxious weed encroach- 
ment. 

Wildlife 

Factors Which Influence 
Management Prescriptions 

Bureau policy states that candidate species such as 
California bighorn sheep will be treated as priority 
species in all land use plans. Management direction 
provided by the MFP was to manage special status 
wildlife species habitats in a manner that would favor 
their perpetuation and/or expansion, to provide 
forage for big game, and to assure that land use 
authorizations perpetuate or enhance existing habitat 
characteristics of critical wildlife use areas. The 
Northern Malheur MFP also recommended bighorn 
reintroduction and the Southern Malheur EIS Pre- 
ferred Alternative had provisions for sheep trans- 
plants. 

The Leslie Gulch Habitat Management Plan (HMP) 
for California bighorn sheep includes the Leslie Gulch 
ACEC area. One bighorn sheep water development 
and fence modification for bighorn passage has been 
completed in the ACEC as a result of the HMP. 
Future maintenance may be necessary on those 
projects. Reclamation of Steamboat Ridge Trail was 
a planned HMP action that has not been imple- 
mented. 

Like other reintroduced herds of California bighorn 
sheep, this population seems to be self-limiting in 



32 



numbers. One of the factors that may limit the herd is 
the bighorn sheep lungworm, an endemic organism 
that is passed from the ewe to the unborn lamb and 
causes mortality in young animals. In the past, 
ODFW has placed wormer blocks for bighorn sheep 
use in the ACEC. Because there are abundant 
naturally occurring salts in the area, the blocks were 
not used by the bighorns and have been removed. A 
different type of wormer may be used in the future. 

Management actions that could influence the quality 
of bighorn sheep habitat in Leslie Gulch include the 
number of roads, range condition, amount of human 
disturbance, presence or absence of domestic sheep, 
mineral development, and the availability of water. 

Because most of the historic California bighorn range 
has been impacted by human use, it is unlikely that 
enough herds can be established to remove the 
species from consideration for listing under the 
Endangered Species Act. If a catastrophic event 
occurs, such as epidemic disease, the likelihood of 
species survival increases with the number of popula- 
tions. In addition, the Leslie Gulch herd is one of only 
a few in Oregon that are large enough to serve as a 
source for animals to transplant to other areas. 
Therefore, the Leslie Gulch ACEC is regionally and 
nationally significant for California bighorn sheep 
habitat. Protection of those values is necessary to 
maintain a healthy herd and thereby contribute to 
protection of the species. 

Bighorn sheep are captured periodically by the 
Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) for 
relocation to unoccupied ranges. This removal of 
animals also counteracts the stagnation of the Leslie 
Gulch herd. Expansion to new habitat without manual 
relocation has been rare. In 1988, the Malheur 
County Bighorn Sheep Reintroduction Plan and 
Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed 
by BLM Vale District and ODFW. Reasonable num- 
bers for the Leslie Gulch bighorn herd unit were 
established at 250 to 300 animals. Capture and 
release of bighorn sheep were authorized in the Plan 
and MOU. 

Capture entails the use of a helicopter, trailers and 
other base camp equipment for two days, usually in 
the winter. Only two captures, in 1986 and 1988, 
have been conducted in Leslie Gulch ACEC up to the 
present time. Past activity was based at Slocum 
Creek campground, with actual capture activity 
outside the ACEC boundary. Helicopters are also 
used by ODFW for bighorn inventories in January 
and June, with landings for refueling usually occur- 
ring at the Overlook. 



Bald eagles, listed as threatened under the Endan- 
gered Species Act, winter along the Owyhee River, 
but there are no known roost sites such as large 
cottonwoods within the ACEC. No site specific 
information is presently available. 

Townsend's big-eared bat populations are declining 
seriously in Oregon and elsewhere. Less than 2800 
individuals are estimated to remain in Oregon. The 
most important habitat factor seems to be undis- 
turbed roost, nursery, and winter hibernating sites, 
which are often found in caves. When those sites are 
disturbed, critical fat reserves are burned by the bats. 
There is no site specific information on this species. 

Mojave black-collared lizards are associated with 
boulders or rockpiles on arid slopes. This species is 
considered sensitive because of its restricted distri- 
bution. Under Bureau policy, a species designated as 
Bureau Sensitive will be treated the same as federal 
candidate species. The western ground snake, a 
BLM tracking species, is difficult to inventory because 
of its secretive, nocturnal habits. The few specimens 
found in Oregon have been located at the foot of 
rocky slopes. 

Impacts Of Alternatives On Wildlife 

Alternative A 
Access and Roads 

• Road closure on Steamboat Ridge would benefit 
bighorn sheep, mule deer, and Rocky Mountain 
elk, since there would be less disturbance through 
human activity. 

Land Tenure 

• Acquisition or a scenic easement of the private 
inholding would prevent further development, 
habitat degradation, and disturbances to wildlife at 

• Rehabilitation of the site and accompanying 
disturbance would have a short-term negative 
impact on bighorn sheep and other wildlife. 
Removal of the present development would have a 
long term beneficial effect by returning the site to 
native habitat and reducing the likelihood of 
camping near Mud Springs. Removal of potable 
water available to the public should result in 
decreased use of the site. This would result in 
fewer visitor contacts with bighorn sheep at the 
spring. 



33 



Minerals 



WilsiEsfe 



• Wildlife habitat would be maintained within the 
area withdrawn from mineral activity. If the rest of 
the ACEC is not withdrawn through wilderness 
designation, adverse impacts could occur if 
mineral development is proposed. Impacts include 
habitat degradation and disturbance to wildlife. 
The severity of those impacts would be dependent 
upon the level and location of mineral activity. 

Livestock Grazing 

• Utilization levels by livestock are presently very 
light, with nearly all of the cattle use on slopes 
under 40%. Removal of livestock may improve 
forage quality on the lower slopes. Forage is not a 
limiting factor for this bighorn sheep population, so 
benefits may be minimal. Other wildlife species 
dependent on mid to late serai stage vegetation for 
forage and cover should benefit. There could be 
negative impacts to wildlife dependent on early 
serai stage vegetation. Removal of cattle would 
reduce the potential for noxious weed invasion and 
expansion of existing sites. Minimizing invasion by 
exotics would maximize native habitat available for 
wildlife forage and cover. 

Noxious Weeds 

• Manual control would limit invasion of exotics 
along the roads, which would make available 
otherwise occupied native habitat used for forage 
and cover. With no chemical control, there would 
be no toxic effects on small mammals, reptiles, or 
other wildlife. 

• Cleaning of road maintenance equipment for 
removal of weed seeds would benefit wildlife by 
maintaining available native habitat. 

Wild Horses 

• No impacts on wildlife are known due to recent 
wild horse use. Removal of the ACEC from the 
HMA would eliminate the potential for any future 
impacts. 

Special Status Plants 

• The gate at Dago Gulch would limit vehicle access 
and potential disturbance of wildlife from vehicle 
use. 



• Limits on areas for base operations would not 
prevent ODFW from carrying out needed bighorn 
management. Occasional removal of animals for 
transplant would maintain the health of the bighorn 
sheep herd. Wormer blocks or other supplements 
would also be available for use if deemed neces- 
sary by ODFW. There should be no effects on 
other wildlife species from bighorn management 
activities. 

Wildfire 

• Protection from fire would benefit special status 
species and other wildlife by minimizing loss of 
habitat. Surface disturbance from earthmoving 
equipment could create site-specific negative 
impacts to Mojave black-collared lizards, western 
ground snakes and other wildlife species with 
restricted ranges. 

Recreation 

• Fewer visitors would be expected under this 
alternative. Lessened recreation development and 
curtailment of present uses should be beneficial to 
wildlife. There would be fewer wildlife-human 
contacts and less ground disturbance under this 
alternative. Elimination of horses would reduce the 
potential for invasion by new exotic species and 
expansion of current exotic species populations 
into native wildlife habitat. 

• Developed recreation would be limited to Slocum 
Creek campground and the boat ramp area, which 
are already disturbed. Camping sites would be 
eliminated at Dago, which would further reduce 
visitor contacts with bighorns and other wildlife at 
Mud Springs. To a lesser extent, impacts may 
occur from day use parking and restrooms. 

• Removal of rock climbing routes with fixed anchors 
and hand holds should reduce use and the poten- 
tial disturbances to raptors and bat roosting 
habitat. 

Alternative B 
Access and Roads 

• Leaving Steamboat Ridge road open would result 
in continued disturbance of bighorn sheep, mule 
deer, and Rocky Mountain elk at current levels. 



34 



Land Tenure 

• If the private inholding were not acquired, there 
would likely be increased visitor use of the Mud 
Springs area. This use would result in more 
disturbance to bighorn sheep and other wildlife 
using the spring. Despite zoning laws, the poten- 
tial would remain for further development, habitat 
degradation and disturbance to wildlife at Mud 
Springs. 

Minerals 

• Withdrawal from locatable and leasable minerals 
activity would benefit bighorn sheep and other 
wildlife species by reducing the potential of distur- 
bance to habitat. 

Livestock Grazing 

• With existing livestock management, accessible 
slopes would likely remain in early serai vegetation 
for a longer time. Wildlife forage quality would 
recover more slowly than with the other alterna- 
tives. This would have negatively impact wildlife 
species dependent on middle to late serai stage 
vegetation for forage and cover. There would be 
no impact on the bighorn sheep population, since 
forge is not a limiting factor in the ACEC. The 
potential for increased weed invasion would 
continue longer, which could reduce the amount of 
available forage and cover for wildlife. 

Noxious Weeds 



stages could decline under increased grazing 
pressure. Wildlife forage quality and quantity 
would be negatively impacted. 

Special Status Plant Species 

• Continuation of present sensitive plant species 
management would have no effect on wildlife. 

Wildlife 

• Occasional removal of animals for transplant 
would maintain the health of the bighorn sheep 
herd. Wormer blocks or other supplements would 
also be available for use if deemed necessary by 
ODFW. There should be no effects on other 
wildlife species from bighorn management activi- 
ties. 

• There would continue to be a potential for distur- 
bance to nesting raptors and Townsend's big- 
eared bat habitat. 

Wildfire 

• Protection from fire would benefit special status 
species and other wildlife by minimizing loss of 
habitat. Surface disturbance from earthmoving 
equipment could create site-specific negative 
impacts to Mojave black-collared lizards, western 
ground snakes and other wildlife species with 
restricted ranges. 

Recreation 



• The site specific, limited use of herbicides could 
cause short-term moderate toxic effects in small 
mammals and reptiles. The sprayed areas are so 
restricted that negative impacts should be minimal. 
The positive impact of improving habitat by remov- 
ing undesirable vegetation is far greater than any 
potential negative impacts. 

Wild Horses 

• Should wild horses move into the ACEC, there 
would be increased grazing pressure, especially 
on the lower slopes. There is more use of late 
serai stage vegetation by horses than cattle, so 
there would be more dietary overlap and competi- 
tion with bighorn sheep. However, forage is not a 
limiting factor for this bighorn population, so 
impacts would be minimal. Ecological site condi- 
tions on the lower slopes would remain in early 
serai stages, and those areas in mid to late serai 



• Current lack of control on visitor use could result in 
major impacts to wildlife species as the number of 
visitors increases. Potential impacts include 
increased surface disturbance, increased harass- 
ment and visitor contacts, and new and further 
invasion of weedy species by spreading seeds and 
soil disturbances into native habitat. 

• Some disturbance of rubble and boulders near the 
bottom of the slopes could occur from rock climb- 
ing activities at Einstein. Impacts on Mojave 
black-collared lizard and western ground snake 
habitat would be minimal and localized. 

Alternative C 
Access and Roads 

• Leaving Steamboat Ridge road open would result 
in continued disturbance of bighorn sheep, mule 
deer and Rocky Mountain elk at current or higher 
levels. 



35 



Land Tenure 

• Acquisition or a scenic easement of the private 
inholding would prevent further development, 
habitat degradation, and disturbances to wildlife at 
Mud Springs. 

• Piping the water from Mud Spring for human use 
off-site would have a short-term negative impact 
from construction noise and disturbance. In the 
long term, bighorn sheep and other wildlife should 
benefit from the reduction in disturbance and 
encounters with people at Mud Springs. By 
providing potable water at Slocum Creek, more 
visitors would be attracted to the ACEC with the 
associated increase of impacts to all wildlife. 

Minerals 

• Not withdrawing the ACEC from locatable mineral 
activity, mineral leases or sales would have a 
negative impact on both wildlife habitat and wildlife 
species. Surface disturbance would result in loss 
of habitat. Mineral activities and related develop- 
ment are likely to disturb wildlife and cause them 
to avoid the area of disturbance. 

Livestock Grazing 

• Changes in grazing practices to winter use would 
result in improved forage quality for wildlife. 
Winter grazing removes only dormant grass 
material and does not deplete the carbohydrate 
reserves of the plants. The grasses can achieve 
their maximum potential for increase in size, vigor 
and productivity. Wildlife species dependent on 
mid to late serai stage vegetation for forage and 
cover should benefit. There could be a negative 
impact to wildlife dependent on early serai stage 
vegetation. Forage is not a limiting factor for this 
bighorn sheep population, so benefits to bighorns 
would be minimal. 

Noxious Weeds 

• The site specific, limited use of herbicides could 
cause short-term moderate toxic effects in small 
mammals and reptiles. The sprayed areas are so 
restricted that negative impacts should be minimal. 
The positive impact of improving habitat by remov- 
ing undesirable vegetation is far greater than any 
potential negative impacts. 

• Weed-free hay would limit the spread of exotics 
into native wildlife habitat. However, enforcement 



would be difficult and some spread of weeds is 
likely from horse use, since weed seeds can be 
carried in digestive tracts for several days. 

Wild Horses 

• If wild horses move into the ACEC, there would be 
increased grazing pressure, especially on the 
lower slopes. There is more use of late serai 
stage vegetation by horses than by cattle, so there 
would be more dietary overlap and competition 
with bighorn sheep. However, forage is not a 
limiting factor for this bighorn population, so 
impacts would be minimal. Ecological site condi- 
tions on the lower slopes would remain in early 
serai stages, and those areas in mid to late serai 
stages could decline under increased grazing 
pressure. Wildlife forage quality and quantity 
would be negatively impacted. 

Special Status Plant Species 

• Exclosure fences would meet BLM guidelines for 
wildlife passage. There would be no negative 
impacts on wildlife. 

• The gate in lower Dago Gulch would reduce 
impacts to wildlife from vehicles using the lower 
0.75 mile of the road. 

Wildlife 

• Occasional removal of animals for transplant 
would maintain the health of the bighorn sheep 
herd. Wormer blocks or other supplements would 
also be available for use if deemed necessary by 
ODFW. There should be no effects on other 
wildlife species from bighorn management activi- 
ties. 

Wildfire 

• Protection from fire would benefit special status 
species and other wildlife by minimizing loss of 
habitat. Surface disturbance from earthmoving 
equipment could create site-specific negative 
impacts to Mojave black-collared lizards, western 
ground snakes and other wildlife species with 
restricted ranges. 

Recreation 

• This alternative would make the ACEC more 
attractive to visitors for both day use and overnight 
camping. Disturbances and harassment of wildlife 
would be more likely to occur. Increased develop- 
ment would also result in site-specific removal of 



36 



habitat for species such as nongame migratory 
birds and herptofauna such as the Mojave black- 
collared lizard. 

Some disturbance of rubble and boulders near the 
bottom of the slopes could occur from rock climb- 
ing activities at all of the existing sites. Impacts on 
Mojave black-collared lizard and western ground 
snake habitat would be minimal and localized. Any 
disturbance to raptors and bat roosting sites near 
the existing climbing routes would continue. 



ages caused by fire spreading from the public lands if 
less than full suppression measures are imple- 
mented. 

The Interim Policy and Guidance for Lands Under 
Wilderness Review also sets policy for revegetation 
activities within Wilderness Study Areas. This policy 
states that to the extent feasible, emergency seeding 
and planting will utilize species which are native to 
the area and that the use of mechanized cross 
country travel will be avoided. 



Monitoring Needs 

Annual aerial monitoring of California bighorn sheep 
populations will continue. Baseline information for 
bald eagle winter use, presence and distibution of 
special status wildlife species, and raptor nesting in 
the ACEC will be gathered. 

Wildfire 

Factors Which Influence 
Management Prescriptions 

The Vale District Fire Management Activity Plan 
establishes guidelines for selecting fire suppression 
methods for individual fires within the District. These 
guidelines consider resource conflicts of the various 
methods available and the severity of burning condi- 
tions. Fire suppression personnel must consider the 
trade offs between impacts to other resources of the 
area and the effectiveness of selected fire control 
measures. Full fire suppression efforts which include 
crawler tractor constructed fire lines may not be 
appropriate where impacts to the visual resource are 
of primary concern such as in Leslie Gulch. The 
Interim Policy and Guidance for Lands Under Wilder- 
ness Review specifies that fire control methods be 
selected which are most effective while being least 
damaging to wilderness values. These constraints 
apply only to the Wilderness Study Area portions of 
the ACEC. No earth moving equipment may be 
utilized in any identified Special status Plant site or 
archaeological sites. 

Fire suppression on public lands often is required to 
prevent fire from spreading to adjacent lands. The 
private owner of the lands to the south of Leslie 
Gulch uses these lands for grazing of livestock. Fire 
which spreads from the public lands can destroy 
privately owned forage and range developments. The 
Federal Government could be held liable for dam- 



Impacts Of Alternatives On Wildfire 



Alternative A 
Access and Roads 

• Closure of the Steamboat Ridge road would 
eliminate this route for access to this area by fire 
suppression personnel. 

Livestock Grazing 

• With no cattle to consume annual grass produc- 
tion, there would be a slight increase in fine fuels 
available during the fire season. Since large 
portions of the ACEC are either not used by 
livestock or are inaccessible and many natural fire 
breaks exist within the ACEC, there is not ex- 
pected to be a significant change to the fire hazard 
within the ACEC due to changes in livestock 
grazing. 

Recreation 

• Restricting campfires to developed campgrounds 
and not allowing back country camping would 
remove these potential sources of fire from the 
ACEC and reduce fire hazard. 

Alternative B 
Access and Roads 

• All existing roads would remain available for 
access by fire suppression personnel. 

Livestock Grazing 

• The existing grazing in March and April reduces 
the accumulation of fine fuel in areas where cattle 
graze. Since grazing occurs early in the growing 
season, grass growth which occurs following 
removal of the livestock remains available for fire 



37 



fuel during the late summer fire season. Since 
large portions of the ACEC are either not used by 
livestock or are inaccessible and many natural fire 
breaks exist within the ACEC, there is not ex- 
pected to be a significant change to the fire hazard 
within the ACEC due to changes in livestock 
grazing. 

Recreation 

• Permitting unrestricted camping and use of 
campfires throughout the ACEC would increase 
the risk of a wildfire starting by one of the activi- 
ties. 

Alternative C 
Access and Roads 

• All existing roads would remain available for 
access by fire suppression personnel. 

Livestock Grazing 

• Changing the season of livestock grazing to the 
winter months would reduce the affect that the 
cattle have in reducing accumulation of fine fuels. 
Grazing would not occur during the growing 
season, so there would be more fine fuels avail- 
able to burn during the late summer fire season. 
Since large portions of the ACEC are either not 
used by livestock or are inaccessible and many 
natural fire breaks exist within the ACEC, there is 
not expected to be a significant change to the fire 
hazard within the ACEC due to changes in live- 
stock grazing. 

Recreation 

• Although camping would be allowed within most of 
the ACEC, no ground fires would be allowed 
outside of developed campgrounds. This alterna- 
tive would have the same risk of fire starts by 
recreationists as Alternative A and less risk than 
Alternative B. 

Monitoring Needs 

The impacts of fire and fire suppression activities 
require monitoring until all disturbances are stabilized 
by vegetation. In Leslie Gulch, impacts to the Rel- 
evant and Important Values are primarily considered; 
however, impacts to all resources of the area are also 
analyzed. Fire personnel are used as available to 
monitor rehabilitation of burned areas and identify 
locations where remedial work is necessary. 



Recreation 

Factors Which Influence Manage- 
ment Prescriptions 

The diverse nature of the recreational opportunities 
available in Leslie Gulch has a significant role in the 
management of the area. While remaining relatively 
unknown, the area's popularity is increasing. In 
recent years, the area has received attention in 
various regional and national publications. BLM's 
wilderness review process has also attracted public 
interest to the area. 

The quality of a visitor's recreation experience in a 
particular activity is affected by a combination of 
environmental and personal factors. Environmental 
factors can include the level and type of develop- 
ment, condition of the area's resources, user conflicts 
and extent of managerial presence (signs, patrols). 
Each visitor also has a unique set of personal values 
(preferences, expectations, tolerances) which also 
affects his or her experience when recreating in the 
area. 

Existing management direction for recreation in the 
area is provided in the Northern Malheur Manage- 
ment Framework Plan (MFP) and in the Interim 
Management Policy and Guidelines for Lands under 
Wilderness Review (IMP). 

The MFP provides for legal motorized access with an 
off-highway vehicle (OHV) limited use designation 
which restricts vehicle use to the existing Runaway 
Gulch/Leslie Gulch, Dago and Steamboat Ridge 
roads. Development of trail heads, trails, the boat 
ramp, sanitation facilities, campground(s)/picnic 
areas, VRM Class II management, managerial 
signing and dispersed recreational use are also 
provided for in the MFP. Under BLM's Recreation 
2000 initiative, the Leslie Gulch area is a part of the 
Owyhee River Complex Special Recreation Manage- 
ment Area. 

The purpose of the IMP is to retain or enhance 
existing wilderness values which qualify the WSAs 
suitable for preservation as wilderness. These 
values include naturalness, outstanding opportunities 
for solitude and primitive and unconfined recreation, 
and several special wilderness features. 

Management actions should not exceed the manage- 
ment objective for the VRM Class II designation. Any 
developments proposed for the ACEC must consider 
their potential affects upon the visual character of the 
area. 



38 



Through an MOU with the BR, the BLM manages the 
BR parcel which is located between the ACEC and 
the Owyhee Reservoir. The type and extent of 
developed recreational facilities on this parcel concur 
with the MFP decision to provide boating access in 
Leslie Gulch. These facilities were developed in 
partnership with Malheur County and the Oregon 
Department of Parks and Recreation and provide 
recreation uses not otherwise available in the Leslie 
Gulch area. The facilities' presence and use affects 
recreation opportunities within the ACEC. 

Leslie Gulch is a component of BLM's National 
Watchable Wildlife and National Back Country 
Byways programs. Both programs are specifically 
described in widely circulated promotional mediums. 
The State of Oregon has nominated the Byway as 
one of its original Scenic Tour Loops, a new program 
designed to promote motorized traveler's enjoyment 
of the state's natural and cultural resources and to 
enhance tourism in the state. 

Sport rock climbing has recently expanded within the 
ACEC. Specific management guidance regarding 
this activity has yet to be developed in the BLM. In 
the Vale District, there is currently a moratorium on 
the placement of fixed anchors and the use of 
portable power tools in WSAs until additional man- 
agement direction is developed. The effects of rock 
climbing include the activity's impacts on the area's 
scenic resources, cultural values, wilderness values, 
soils and vegetation, and other recreational users 
within the area. 

Impacts Of Alternatives On 
Recreation 

Alternative A 
Access and Roads 

• Two additional parking areas along the Leslie 
Gulch Road would decrease driving hazards by 
keeping parked vehicles off of the traveled road. 
Access would be improved to areas of the ACEC 
where there is currently no parking. This would 
reduce impacts to resources at the currently 
heavier used areas and increase use in other 
areas. Overall, visitors' primitive recreation 
experiences would be enhanced by decreasing the 
number of party contacts with the improved 
distribution of use. 

• Elimination of vehicular access on Steamboat 
Ridge would preclude use by recreationists who 



drive this particular route. Vehicle trespass in the 
three WSAs would be reduced. 

• By not improving the Leslie Gulch channel cross- 
ings, current road standards would continue to 
discourage some visitation, particularly by low 
clearance vehicles. Occasional flood damage of 
the crossings would continue to occur, temporarily 
preventing road access and possibly stranding 
visitors. 

Land Tenure 

• Acquisition of the 40-acre private parcel at Dago 
Gulch would provide for the establishment of day 
use parking area and a restroom in that area. 
These would reduce vehicle congestion and place 
a restroom closer to where back country recre- 
ational use originates in this part of the ACEC. 
Reclamation of the existing developments on this 
parcel and careful design of the new facilities 
would reduce the overall visual impacts on the 
setting. 

• The elimination of developed water at Mud Springs 
would reduce the attractiveness of the ACEC for 
camping. 

Minerals 

• The closure of leasable minerals and mineral sales 
throughout the ACEC would protect the existing 
natural landscape, scenic qualities and recre- 
ational opportunities of the ACEC from distur- 
bances associated with development of these 
mineral resources. 

• Exploration or development of locatable minerals, 
where available in the ACEC, could adversely 
impact the scenic qualities of the ACEC. These 
activities would likely not meet visual management 
objectives for the VRM Class II area of the ACEC. 
The quality of recreation experience could be 
adversely impacted by mineral development 
activities. 

Livestock Grazing 

• The removal of livestock from the Leslie Gulch 
pasture would enhance the quality of the recre- 
ation experience for visitors who dislike the 
presence of livestock or their evidence and would 
reduce the human-induced alteration as a result of 
livestock use activities on the natural setting within 
the ACEC. 



39 



Noxious Weeds 

• Manual removal of noxious weeds would aid in 
keeping the area's natural appearance, but would 
not be as effective at controlling weeds as Alterna- 
tives B and C. 

Wild Horses 

• Although there has been no recent wild horse use, 
excluding the Leslie Gulch area from the Wild 
Horse Management Area would eliminate the 
chances that visitors would observe wild horses. 
The presence of wild horses can have positive or 
negative impacts on a recreational experience 
depending upon personal perceptions. 

Special Status Plants 

• Any fences or trail segments constructed to protect 
special status plant sites would create a visual 
intrusion but would not significantly affect most 
recreational activities. 

• Installation of a gate on the Dago Gulch road 
would limit vehicle access on approximately 0.75 
mile of dead end road and reduce motorized 
vehicle trespass in the Upper Leslie Gulch WSA. 

Recreation 

• Elimination of the Back Country Byway and 
Watchable Wildlife designations would result in 
less public awareness of the values present in the 
ACEC. The opportunity for public education 
available through these programs would be lost. 
Although recreational use of the Leslie Gulch area 
is expected to increase in the future, the amount of 
increase would likely be less under this alternative. 

• This alternative would be the least attractive for 
vehicle campers at Slocum Creek campground 
since there would be no additional development. 

• There would be no opportunities for vehicle 
camping outside of the Slocum Creek Camp- 
ground. 

• The Owyhee Breaks trail would not be available to 
direct users to a preferred route location. Prolifera- 
tion of trail routes and impacts to resources may 
occur. 

• Opportunities for recreational horse use in the 
area would not be available. 



• Impacts on natural values and higher levels of 
social contact between users due to back country 
camping would not occur. This would retain the 
back country in a more natural condition and 
enhance the quality of a primitive recreation 
experience for day users in the area. 

• Permits which limit organized group size to six 
persons would result in less impact to natural 
values. 

• Sport rock climbing would not be available within 
the ACEC. Evidence of the rock climbing activities 
such as fixed anchors, chalked and artificially 
constructed handholds, site-specific soil compac- 
tion, and vegetation impacts would not occur. 
Some visual scarring of the rock faces may remain 
evident due to removal of existing anchors, 
particularly at the Einstein site. 

Alternative B 
Access and Roads 

• No additional parking areas along the Leslie Gulch 
Road would preclude the opportunity to improve 
safety along the road and to improve the distribu- 
tion of dispersed recreation activities within the 
ACEC. This could lead to a lower quality primitive 
recreation experience for visitors as use levels 
increase in more popular back country areas. 

• Vehicle access to Steamboat Ridge would remain. 
The potential for unauthorized vehicle use in the 
Honeycombs WSA would continue. 

• By not improving the Leslie Gulch channel cross- 
ings, current road standards would continue to 
discourage some visitation, particularly by low 
clearance vehicles. Occasional severe flood 
damage of the crossings would continue to occur, 
temporarily preventing road access and possibly 
stranding visitors. 

Land Tenure 

• With no acquisition of the private parcel or scenic 
easement at Dago Gulch, the possibility of devel- 
opment of day use facilities and reduction of visual 
impacts by the existing structures would be 
foregone. Any additional deveopments by the 
landowner would likely further impact the high 
scenic values located in the setting of the ACEC. 

• Public use of water from Mud Spring would 
continue to be at the discretion of the private land 
owner. 



40 



Minerals 

• The ACEC would remain available for salable 
minerals extraction. These activities are 
descretionary actions and any proposed develop- 
ments would require environmental analysis prior 
to development which would analyze the impacts 
of any proposal on the identified values within 
Leslie Gulch. 

• The closure to mineral leasing and withdrawal of 
locatable minerals throughout the ACEC would 
protect the existing natural landscape and high 
scenic qualities of the ACEC from disturbances 
associated with exploration and extraction of these 
mineral resources. The enjoyment of recreational 
activities would be protected from impacts of 
leasable and locatable minerals mining activities. 

Livestock Grazing 

• The presence of livestock during the beginning of 
the spring high recreational use period (March and 
April) would impact some recreational activities. 
The presence of livestock or evidence of livestock 
may intrude upon the natural setting for some 
recreationists and lower their desired recreation 
experience while in the area. 

Noxious Weeds 

• The combination of manual and chemical control 
of noxious weeds would likely result in fewer 
weeds in the area than under Alternative A, aiding 
in maintaining the area's natural appearance. 

Wild Horses 

• There is potential for wild horses to move into the 
ACEC and their use would be allowed to continue 
under this alternative. The presence of wild horses 
can have positive or negative impacts on a recre- 
ation experience depending upon personal per- 
ceptions. 

Special Status Plants 

• Under current guidance, site-specific measures 
may be implemented to protect special status plant 
species from human induced impacts. Possible 
measures including public education and fence 
construction to protect plant sites may enhance 
visitors' awareness, respect and interest about the 
area's unique plants and their habitat. 

• Any fences or trail segments constructed to protect 
special status plant sites would create a visual 



intrusion but would not significantly affect most 
recreational activities. 

• Vehicle access to the lower 0.75 mile of Dago 
Gulch would remain. The potential for vehicle use 
in the Upper Leslie Gulch WSA would continue. 

Recreation 

• Maintaining the Back Country Byway and 
Watchable Wildlife management programs in the 
ACEC would likely increase the area's recreational 
use more so than if these programs were not 
continued. These programs also serve the impor- 
tant role of public education and information 
dissemination about resource values and user 
ethics. 

• The development of individual camp units within 
the presently disturbed area at the Slocum Creek 
campground would make vehicle camping more 
attractive than under Alternative A. This level of 
campground development would not help meet 
peak season camping demands for the area. 

• Continued vehicle camping at existing dispersed 
vehicle camp locations in the ACEC (primarily in 
Dago Gulch) would continue to cause damage to 
vegetation, soils and aesthetic values. 

• Recreational horse riding would remain available 
to all accessible areas of the ACEC. Impacts due 
to horse use would continue on primitive trails 
shared by hikers and likely result in the establish- 
ment of some additional trails and spreading of 
weed seeds in the area. 

• The Owyhee Breaks trail would not be available to 
direct users to a preferred route location. Prolifera- 
tion of trail routes and impacts to resources may 
occur. 

• With the continuation of uncontrolled back country 
camping, the frequency of social contacts between 
back country users and long term evidence of 
campsites would be greater than under Alternative 
A. The sense of solitude and quality of a primitive 
recreation experience would be less than under 
Alternative A. 

• With no defined maximum size of organized group 
activities, more intense and accelerated impacts 
caused by larger groups would continue on natural 
values. Social conflicts with other recreationists 
could be more apparent. Special stipulations 
added to issued use permits would partially 
mitigate the impacts. 



41 



Impacts due to fixed anchor rock climbing activities 
would be limited to the Einstein climbing site. 
These include visual impacts of fixed hardware, 
artificially created hand holds, white chalk on the 
rock faces and impacts upon other resources by 
the concentration of activity at the climbing sites. 
The climbing routes would not be visible from the 
access road, therefore, disruption to the high 
quality scenery would not occur for motorists. The 
climb routes and activities would be visible to other 
back country recreationists in the Upper Leslie 
Gulch WSA. 



bined with the campground's expansion, this 
development would increase the numbers of 
visitors as well as the length of stay of campers. 

Minerals 

• The closure to mineral leasing and material sales 
would protect the existing natural landscape and 
high scenic qualities — one of the important and 
relevant values of the ACEC— from exploration 
and extraction activities associated with these 
kinds of mineral resources. 



Alternative C 
Access and Roads 

• The development of four parking areas along 
Leslie Gulch and Dago Gulch would further 
increase opportunities for improvement of safety 
and access to additional areas of the ACEC. This 
would reduce user pressure and impacts on those 
back country areas with existing parking. 

• Vehicle access to Steamboat Ridge would remain 
as would the potential for vehicle trespass into the 
Honeycombs WSA. 

• The proposed drainage crossing improvements 
under this alternative would slightly improve 
accessibility of the ACEC. These improvements 
would allow the crossings to pass larger storm 
runoff events without becoming impassable. This 
would reduce the chances that visitors would 
become stranded in the gulch during storms. 
Although all types of highway vehicles presently 
use the road, these improvements would make the 
ACEC more attractive to visitors, which could 
result in some increased use. 

Land Tenure 

• Acquisition of the 40-acre private parcel at Dago 
Gulch would provide for the establishment of a day 
use parking area and restroom in that area. These 
developments would reduce vehicle congestion 
and place a restroom closer to where back country 
recreational use originates in this part of the 
ACEC. Reclamation of the existing developments 
on this parcel and careful design of the new 
facilities would reduce the overall visual impacts 
on the setting. 

• Piped potable water to Slocum Creek campground 
from Mud Springs would increase the attractive- 
ness of the ACEC for developed camping. Com- 



• Exploration or development of locatable minerals 
in the ACEC could adversely impact the excep- 
tional scenic qualities of the ACEC, which are an 
important and relevant value of the ACEC. Locat- 
able mineral extraction activities would likely not 
meet visual management objectives for the 
designated VRM Class II area of the ACEC. The 
quality of a recreation experience for most recre- 
ation opportunities available in the ACEC would 
likely be substantially adversely impacted and 
diminished by certain mineral exploration methods 
and by all forms of mineral extraction activities. 

Livestock Grazing 

• Changing the livestock grazing season in the 
Leslie Gulch pasture to winter use would separate 
the cattle use period from the primary recreational 
use season. While some indirect evidence of 
livestock use would still be experienced by recre- 
ational visitors, it would likely not be as noticeable 
as under Alternative B. 

Noxious Weeds 

• The combination of manual and chemical control 
of noxious weeds would likely result in fewer 
weeds in the area than under Alternative A, thus 
aiding in maintaining the areas natural appear- 
ance. 

Wild Horses 

• There is potential for wild horses to move into the 
ACEC, and their use would be allowed to continue 
under this alternative. The presence of wild horses 
can have positive or negative impacts on a recre- 
ation experience depending upon personal per- 
ceptions. 

Special Status Plants 

• Any fences or trail segments constructed to protect 
special status plant sites would create a visual 



42 



intrusion but would not significantly affect most 
recreational activities. Should it be needed, a back 
country visitor access permit system would help 
limit impacts on special status plants. 

• Installation of a gate on the Dago Gulch road 
would limit vehicle access on approximately 0.75 
mile of dead end road up Dago Gulch. Vehicle 
trespass in the Upper Leslie Gulch WSA would be 
reduced. 

Recreation 

• Maintaining the Back Country Byway and 
Watchable Wildlife management programs in the 
ACEC would likely increase the area's recreational 
use more so than if these programs were not 
continued. These programs also serve the impor- 
tant role of public education and information 
dissemination about resource values and user 
ethics. 

• Vehicle camping at Slocum Creek campground 
and for other developed recreation activities would 
be most attractive under this Alternative. This is 
due to the on-site availability of potable water, 
development of individual camp units and the 
improvements at the boat ramp area. 

• Equestrians would have a vehicle campsite at 
Dago Gulch, keeping their overnight activities and 
livestock separate from Slocum Creek camp- 
ground users. 

• The requirement for horse users to provide weed 
free hay would be an inconvenience for recre- 
ational horse users. 

• Impacts due to recreational horse use would be 
confined to roads and accessible ridge tops under 
this alternative, largely avoiding special status 
plant habitats. 

• Motorized vehicle access would remain available 
for Steamboat Ridge where violations of off road 
driving have occurred within Honeycombs WSA. 

• The frequency of back country user contacts 
would likely be greatest under this alternative. 
This would somewhat diminish the quality of the 
primitive recreation experience for the back 
country visitors. 

• Providing for the Owyhee Breaks trail and creation 
of a trailhead would direct users to a preferred 
route to reduce impacts to sensitive resources. 



• With no limit on the size of organized group 
activities, there would be more impacts on re- 
source values. Social conflicts with other 
recreationists would be more apparent. Special 
stipulations added to issued special use permits 
would partially mitigate the impacts. 

• Retention of all existing sport rock climbing routes 
would result in continuation of impacts due to rock 
climbing activities. These impacts include visual 
impacts of fixed hardware, artificially created hand 
holds and white chalk on the rock faces, and 
impacts upon other resources such as soil and 
vegetation caused by the concentration of climbing 
activity. Limiting the number of persons at a 
climbing site would reduce the impacts more than 
under Alternative B. Some climbing routes would 
be within view of the Leslie Gulch Road, disrupting 
sightseeing within the area for motorists. 

Monitoring Needs 

Maintain vehicle counts of use, particularly during the 
primary recreational use period (April through Octo- 
ber). Conduct studies to determine where and to 
what extent various recreational activities are occur- 
ring with the ACEC, emphasizing water-oriented, 
developed facility and back country dispersed 
recreational activities. 

Establish baseline data for indicators of condition 
(currect and desired) and measures of human 
induced recreational impacts on natural and cultural 
values, focusing on areas where use is more concen- 
trated and where more sensitive resources may be 
affected. Establish measures for retaining or enhanc- 
ing quality of recreation experience, while minimizing 
conflicts between various recreation uses and users. 

Wilderness 

Factors Which Influence 
Management Prescriptions 

The 1989 BLM Oregon Wilderness EIS and subse- 
quent 1991 Oregon Wilderness Study Report to the 
President recommended nearly all of the three WSAs 
within the ACEC be designated as components of the 
National Wilderness Preservation System. In I992, 
the President submitted to Congress the same 
recommendation. Congress has no deadline to make 
a decision on the wilderness issue. WSA land within 
the ACEC not recommended for wilderness designa- 
tion are at two locations: (1 ) the width of the lower 



43 



Leslie Gulch canyon floor, not to exceed 400 feet 
from either side of the Leslie Gulch Road, from the 
private land at Mud Springs down canyon to the 
Bureau of Reclamation administered land and (2) the 
width of the Slocum Creek canyon floor extending for 
1 ,200 feet south from the Slocum Creek campground 
area. 

There is substantial public support for wilderness 
designation of the WSAs. 

While in study status, the three Wilderness Study 
Areas within the Leslie Gulch ACEC are managed in 
accordance with BLM's Interim Managment Policy 
and Guidelines for Lands under Wilderness Review 
(IMP) (BLM Manual Handbook 8550-1) and Instruc- 
tion Memorandum OR-92-241, "Interim Management 
of Wilderness Study Areas". In general, the only 
activities allowed under these guidelines are tempo- 
rary uses that create no new surface disturbance. 
Allowing for noted exceptions, proposed surface 
disturbing management actions within WSAs which 
would require reclamation could not be implemented 
until Congress removes an area from WSA status. 

The IMP states that livestock grazing activities, 
mining, and mineral leasing uses on lands under 
wilderness review may continue in the manner and 
degree in which these uses were being done on 
October 21, 1976. These are "grandfathered" uses. 
Livestock grazing in all three WSAs is grandfathered. 
There are no grandfathered mining or mineral leasing 
activities within the WSAs of the Leslie Gulch ACEC. 

Activities that do not impair the land's suitability as 
wilderness or those that protect or enhance wilder- 
ness values are permitted in WSAs. The IMP re- 
quires separate analysis of impacts for the excep- 
tions of use or suface disturbing activities to ensure 
that wilderness values are not so impaired as to 
make a WSA not suitable for designation as wilder- 
ness. Minimum necessary facilities for public enjoy- 
ment of wilderness values or for public health and 
safety are also allowed. New trails for foot or animal 
travel are permitted if they are needed to preserve 
wilderness and resource values. Maintenance, 
construction or removal of existing structures and 
installations are permitted if accomplished by primi- 
tive means. New permanent range improvements 
may be approved for the purpose of enhancing 
wilderness values or better protecting the rangeland 
in a natural condition. 

Land use authorizations such as leases and special 
use permits may be permitted if BLM determines that 
wilderness values would not be impaired. Changes 
in livestock use are allowed if the changes do not 



cause declining condition or trend of the vegetation 
or the soil. Noxious weeds may be controlled by 
grubbing or chemicals if there is no effective alterna- 
tive and there are no serious adverse impacts on 
wilderness values. 

The IMP provides for land exchanges when BLM 
receives lands within an area under wilderness 
review, in exchange for public lands not under 
wilderness review. BLM's wilderness recommenda- 
tion for each of the three WSAs of the ACEC did not 
recommend acquisition of the 40-acre private parcel. 

Should any portions of the WSAs be congressionally 
designated as wilderness, those lands would be 
managed in accordance with BLM's Wilderness 
Management Policy (September, 1981) and BLM 
Manual 8560, Management of Designated Wilder- 
ness Areas. A wilderness management plan would 
be developed for any designated wilderness area. All 
issues and needs to specifically manage the wilder- 
ness area(s) would be addressed in the plan. Appro- 
priate decisions of this plan would be carried over to 
the wilderness management plan. 

Impacts Of Alternatives On 
Wilderness 

Alternative A 
Access and Roads 

• Construction of two parking areas along Leslie 
Gulch Road would provide safe parking for per- 
sons going into the Slocum Creek or Honeycombs 
WSAs, thus enhancing the opportunity to enjoy 
wilderness values. Overall, primitive recreation 
opportunities in WSAs would be enhanced by 
decreasing the number of party contacts with the 
greater distribution of use. 

• Closing motorized vehicle access on Steamboat 
Ridge and on about 0.75 mile of the Dago Gulch 
road would prevent unauthorized off-road vehicle 
use into the three WSAs and enhance primitive 
recreation opportunities in these WSAs. 

Land Tenure 

• Acquisition of the 40-acre private parcel at Dago 
Gulch would allow for consistent management of 
wilderness values including outstanding natural 
scenic values and bighorn sheep habitat. Re- 
moval of the structures and reclamation of the 
area north of the Leslie Gulch Road would elimi- 
nate these visual intrusions. Proposed parking 



44 



area and restroom in Dago Gulch would be 
designed to have a lower visual impact than the 
existing developments. 

Minerals 

• The closure to mineral leasing and material sales 
throughout the ACEC would protect wilderness 
values of the ACEC from disturbances associated 
with these two types of mineral resource develop- 
ment. Locatable minerals development would 
likely impair wilderness values and not meet VRM 
Class II objectives. 

• The 4,900 acre locatable mineral withdrawal would 
include those portions of the WSAs not recom- 
mended for wilderness designation. Although not 
within the proposed wilderness areas, mineral 
development in these areas would severely impact 
wilderness values within any designated wilder- 
ness within the ACEC. Any congressional legisla- 
tion for designated wilderness within the ACEC 
would likely withdraw the designated wilderness 
from all forms of mineral entry. This would provide 
protection for the remainder of the ACEC within 
wilderness areas. Eight hundred acres outside 
recommended wilderness and the protective 
withdrawal area would not be covered. This land is 
located on the eastern end of the ACEC. 

Livestock Grazing 

• The elimination of livestock, livestock trails and the 
grazed appearance in livestock use locations 
within the three WSAs would create a less human- 
induced alteration of the naturalness within the 
three WSAs. 

Noxious Weeds 

• Manual control of noxious weeds would help 
preserve the naturalness of the three WSAs, but 
this method alone would be less effective than the 
combination of methods proposed in Alternatives B 
andC. 

Wild Horses 

• With the current lack of wild horse use in the 
ACEC, there would be limited affect on wilderness 
values by their removal. Wild horse impacts could 
be similar to those described for livestock under 
this alternative. The presence of wild horses can 
have positive or negative impacts for WSA visitors 
depending upon personal perceptions. 



Special Status Plants 

Trail or fence construction or the placement 
of signs in WSAs to protect special status plant sites 
would have impacts to the naturalness of a WSA. 
Fence construction would likely cause more of a 
visual intrusion that small segments of trail construc- 
tion or the placement of signs. Any proposed protec- 
tion measures would be analyzed for their impacts to 
the naturalness of the area. 

Wildlife 

• Under current practices, there have been no 
known adverse impacts on wilderness values 
during bighorn sheep transplant operations. The 
presence of bighorn sheep wormer blocks or other 
supplements in public use areas within WSAs 
would create an undesirable littered appearance. 
Placement in less apparent locations would reduce 
impact on wilderness values. 

Recreation 

• Impacts on wilderness values by recreationists 
would be less under this alternative than under 
alternatives B and C. However, recreational use 
would be directed to fewer specific locations in 
each of the three WSAs than under alternative C. 

• Recreational use impacts would be more dis- 
persed and less acute in high use areas than 
under Alternative B. The extent of these impacts 
are partially mitigated by the lower amount of 
recreational facility development and improve- 
ments prescribed under this alternative and by the 
limitation to day use hiking for access within the 
WSA portions of the ACEC. Possible implementa- 
tion of a back country use permit system would 
increase opportunities for recreationists to experi- 
ence solitude and a quality primitive recreation 
experience while aiding the protection of wilder- 
ness natural values. 

• The protection of naturalness would be the great- 
est in the WSAs under this alternative. Recreation 
factors include the closure of two road segments, 
the development of a parking area at Dago Gulch 
which would centralize parking for both Dago 
Gulch and upper Leslie Gulch, improved dispersal 
of WSA recreational use by establishing two 
additional parking areas along the main Leslie 
Gulch Road and by limiting special use permit 
activities. 



45 



• No provisions for the Owyhee Breaks trail could 
result in proliferation of trails in the WSAs, particu- 
larly in Honeycombs and Slocum Creek WSAs. 
The opportunity to manage this type of recre- 
ational use would be foregone. 

• The removal of fixed anchors would likely cause 
more observable visual scars at the Einstein 
climbing site than if the existing camouflaged 
hardware were left on the rock face and ad- 
equately maintained. Social conflicts between 
some WSA recreationists would be reduced. 

Alternative B 
Access and Roads 

• With no additional parking provided in the ACEC, 
the opportunity to improve distribution of use in the 
WSAs would be forgone, resulting in higher 
concentrations of use in WSA locations where 
parking along the road presently occurs. This 
would lead to a lower quality primitive recreation 
experience, fewer opportunities for outstanding 
solitude, and increased physical impacts to 
resources in these use areas. Visitors to the lesser 
used areas in WSAs would have increased 
opportunities for solitude and fewer contacts with 
other back country users. 

• With no change in motorized vehicle access 
routes, a total of approximately 1 .5 miles of 
existing road would remain available for use in the 
ACEC, compared to Alternative A. Off-road 
vehicle use would likely continue into Honeycombs 
WSA from the Steamboat Ridge road and along 
the Dago Gulch road into Upper Leslie Gulch and 
Slocum Creek WSAs. Along steep grades of 
Steamboat Ridge road, soil erosion from surface 
water runoff would be a continued concern. 

Land Tenure 

• Without acquisition of the Dago Gulch 40-acre 
private parcel, opportunities to remove the visual 
impacts of the structures there would be forgone. 

Minerals 

• The closure to leasable minerals and withdrawal of 
locatable minerals would be significant steps in 
protecting wilderness values of the three WSAs. 
Surface disturbing activities associated with 
salable mineral development would continue to be 
considered, although environmental analysis 



would be required prior to any proposed sales. 
Surface disturbing activities requiring reclamation 
or which would impair wilderness values would not 
be authorized. 

Livestock Grazing 

• Livestock use is permissible in WSAs and desig- 
nated wilderness. For some visitors, the presence 
of livestock and the evidence of livestock use 
(trails, fecal material and grazed areas) reduces 
their enjoyment of primitive recreation activities. 
Livestock impacts to wilderness values, such as to 
special status plants or their habitats, hinders 
efforts to protect such values, as provided for by 
existing BLM wilderness program policies and the 
Wilderness Act. 

Noxious Weeds 

• The combination manual and chemical control of 
noxious weeds would be more effective than 
manual control alone in reducing the impacts of 
noxious weed invasion on the natural setting of the 
WSAs. 

Wild Horses 

• With the current lack of wild horse use within the 
ACEC, there is limited affect on wilderness values. 
Depending upon the specific locations and level of 
the wild horse use, impacts could be similar to 
those described for livestock under this alternative. 
The presence of wild horses can have positive or 
negative impacts for WSA visitors depending upon 
their personal perceptions. 

Special Status Plants 

• Under current management direction and guid- 
ance, site-specific measures may be implemented 
to protect special status plant species or other 
wilderness values. Such measures (signing, 
fencing, trail relocation) may be approved should 
monitoring determine such actions to be neces- 
sary and wilderness values are not unduly im- 
paired. Trail or fence construction or the place- 
ment of signs in WSAs to protect special status 
plant sites would have impacts to the naturalness 
of a WSA. Fence construction would likely cause 
more visual intrusion than trail construction or the 
placement of signs. This alternative may require 
an increased degree of protective measures than 
required under Alternative A due to the retention of 
livestock grazing. 



46 



Wildlife 

• Under current practices, there have been no 
known adverse impacts on wilderness values 
during bighorn sheep transplant operations. The 
presence of bighorn sheep wormer blocks or other 
supplements in public use areas within WSAs 
would create an undesirable littered appearance. 
Placement in less apparent locations would reduce 
impact on wilderness values. 

Recreation 

• Vehicle access on the Steamboat Ridge and Dago 
Gulch roads would perpetuate unauthorized "off- 
road use in the three WSAs. No provisions for the 
Owyhee Breaks trail route system would have the 
same impacts as described under Alternative A. 

• There are fewer specific opportunities to manage 
various recreation uses under this alternative and 
less opportunity to direct increased dispersed use 
to other locations within the WSAs. 

• Recreational use impacts would be more concen- 
trated and acute in specific locations of the three 
WSAs than under Alternatives A or C, since no 
additional parking areas would be provided. As 
back country visitation increases within the ACEC, 
some wilderness values in the presently acces- 
sible locations of the WSAs would be more se- 
verely impacted. There would be a greater dete- 
rioration of outstanding opportunities for solitude 
as the frequency of party contacts increases in 
these locations. Organized group use activities 
would intensify certain physical impacts in the 
WSAs during concentrated group activities. 

• Mitigative measures employed for rock climbing 
activities are more effective than under Alternative 
C. The Einstein climbing site would be the only 
authorized site for sport rock climbing within the 
ACEC. While anchor removal at the Asylum 
climbing site would result in some rock surface 
scaring, the scaring would be inconspicuous to the 
casual observer due to the distance from common 
back country use corridors within Upper Leslie 
Gulch WSA and the site's distance from motorists 
on the main Leslie Gulch Road. 

Alternative C 
Access and Roads 

• Construction of four parking areas along Leslie 
Gulch Road would provide safe parking for per- 



sons going into the Slocum Creek or Honeycombs 
WSAs. Primitive recreation opportunities in WSAs 
would be enhanced by decreasing the number of 
party contacts with the greater distribution of use. 
In the long term, physical impacts to resources at 
the currently heavier used areas would be re- 
duced, with opportunities for solitude and primitive 
recreation more available. Visitors to the currently 
lesser used areas would have reduced opportuni- 
ties for outstanding solitude. Physical impacts 
would increase in the new areas provided with 
parking access. 

Land Tenure 

• Acquisition of the 40-acre private parcel at Dago 
Gulch would allow for consistent management of 
wilderness values associated with the area of the 
ACEC, including outstanding natural scenic values 
and bighorn sheep habitat. Removal of the 
structures and reclamation of the area north of the 
Leslie Gulch Road would eliminate the visual 
intrusion. Proposed facilities which include a 
parking area with a restroom in Dago Gulch would 
be designed to have a lower visual impact than the 
existing developments. 

Minerals 

• The closure to mineral leasing and material sales 
throughout the ACEC would protect wilderness 
values of the ACEC from disturbances associated 
with development of these mineral resources. 

• While the WSAs remain in study status, IMP 
guidance does not allow surface disturbance 
which would require reclamation or unduly impair 
wilderness values. 

• Wilderness designation would likely withdraw 
approximately 90% of the ACEC from mineral 
development. Mineral development on the areas 
not designated wilderness could have significant 
impacts on any portion of the ACEC which would 
be designated wilderness. 

Livestock Grazing 

• The change in grazing season to the winter 
months would separate the presence of livestock 
in the WSAs from the visitor use season of the 
WSAs. While direct evidence of livestock use 
(trails, fecal material and grazed appearance) 
could be experienced by recreationists in the 
WSAs, it would likely be less noticeable than 
under Alternative B. 



47 



Noxious Weeds 

• The combination manual and chemical control of 
noxious weeds would be more effective than 
manual control alone in reducing the impacts of 
noxious weed invasion on the natural setting of the 
WSAs. 

Wild Horses 

• With the current lack of wild horse use in the 
ACEC, there is limited affect on wilderness values. 
There is potential for wild horses to move into the 
WSA, and their use would be allowed to continue 
under this alternative. Dependent upon the specific 
locations and level of the wild horse use, impacts 
could be similar to those described for livestock 
under alternative B. The presence of wild horses 
can have positive or negative impacts for WSA 
visitors depending upon their personal percep- 
tions. 

Special Status Plants 

• The exclosure fence for grimy ivesia would be 
partially within Honeycombs WSA. Although 
located and designed to minimize its visual pres- 
ence in the WSA there would be some visual 
impact and the area would appear less natural. 
Should monitoring indicate that additional fences 
or other measures are necessary to protect 
special status plant sites, then naturalness and 
scenic values would be further impacted. This 
alternative could be as impacting on wilderness 
values as Alternative B. 

Wildlife 

• Under current practices, there have been no 
known adverse impacts on wilderness values 
during bighorn sheep transplant operations. The 
presence of bighorn sheep wormer blocks or other 
supplements in public use areas within WSAs 
would create an undesirable littered appearance. 
Placement in less apparent locations would reduce 
impact on wilderness values. 

Recreation 

• Continued motorized vehicle access on the 
Steamboat Ridge road would perpetuate off-road 
vehicle trespass in this area of the Honeycombs 
WSA. 



• Non-motorized primitive recreation use opportuni- 
ties would be enhanced in the upper Dago Gulch 
areas within Upper Leslie Gulch and Slocum 
Creek WSAs. Should it be needed, a back country 
access permit system would enhance opportuni- 
ties of solitude, primitive recreation and protection 
of wilderness values. 

• Development of the Owyhee Breaks trail route 
system would avoid proliferation of primitive trails 
in Honeycombs and Slocum Creek WSAs. 

• Recreational horse use would be more limited than 
under Alternative B, with impacts to special status 
plant habitats and populations less likely to occur 
by riding activities. 

• The extent of developed recreation facilities, 
developed potable water and the opportunity to 
camp in the WSAs would invite greater use and 
longer recreational stays than under Alternatives A 
or B. This impact would be partially off set by 
more widely dispersing the WSA recreational use 
with the establishment of four parking areas along 
the Leslie Gulch Road. Naturalness would be 
more impacted by recreational use under this 
alternative than under alternatives A and B. 

• The level of impact to wilderness values by rock 
climbing would be greatest under this alternative. 
Although mitigative measures would minimize 
each impact, the locations where climbing would 
be allowed would be the greater. 

Monitoring Needs 

Continue WSA general surveillance patrols during the 
primary use season (April through October), one per 
month minimum, and conduct aerial surveillance 
patrols as deemed necessary. To ensure compliance 
with the IMP and other guidance for WSAs, conduct 
an analysis of planned or authorized surface disturb- 
ing activities in WSAs, e.g. fence/trail, parking areas, 
structure placements, mineral exploration/develop- 
ment. As described under Monitoring Needs for 
Recreation, conduct studies, determine basline data 
and establish standards to monitor for retaining or 
enhancing outstanding opportunities for solitude and 
primitive, unconfined recreation, and for protecting 
wilderness natural values in WSAs and any Congres- 
sional designated wilderness. 



48 



Other Critical Elements 

The following elements are either not present within 
the ACEC or are not affected by any of the manage- 
ment alternatives considered: air quality, cultural 
resources, prime and unique farmlands, flood plains, 
native American religious concerns, hazardous 
wastes, wetlands, wild and scenic rivers, riparian 
areas. 



Organizations Consulted 

Boise rock climbers group 

Oregon Native Plant Society 

Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife 

Three Fingers Temporary Allotment Grazing 

Permitees 

Unites States Bureau of Reclamation 

Vale District Multiple Use Advisory Council 

United States Fish and Wildlife Service 



Participating Staff 

Clair Button, Botonist, Vale District 

Angel Dawson, Archaeologist, Malheur Resource 

Area 
Randy Eyre, Range Conservationist, Malheur Re- 
source Area 
Jean Findley, Botonist, Vale District 
Connie George, Engineering Draftsman, Vale District 
Ralph Heft, Area Manager, Malheur Resource Area 
Kathy Helm, Writer Editor, Coos Bay District 
Bonnie Jakubos, Wildlife Biologist, Malheur Resource 

Area 
Ken Thacker, Soil Conservationist, Malheur Resource 
Area 



Glossary 



Active Preference - That portion of the total grazing 
preference for which grazing use may be autho- 
rized. 

Active Use - The total number of AUMs authorized for 
grazing by livestock. 

Activity Plan - A document which describes manage- 
ment objectives, actions and projects to imple- 
ment decisions of planning documents. 

Allotment - An area of public land, consisting of one 
or more pastures, where one or more operators 
graze their livestock which may include parcels of 
state or private land. The number of livestock 
and season of use are stipulated for each allot- 
ment. 

Alluvial Deposit - Accumulation of soil or rock mate- 
rial which has been transported by moving water. 

Animal Unit Month (AUM) - The amount of forage 
required to sustain one cow with one calf, or their 
equivalent for one month. 

Area of Critical Environmental Concern - An area of 
BLM administered lands where special manage- 
ment attention is needed to protect and prevent 
irreparable damage to important historic, cultural 
or scenic values, fish and wildlife resource or 
other natural systems or processes; or to protect 
life and provide safety from natural hazards. 

Back Country Byway - A road segment designated as 
part of the National Scenic Byway System. 

Bureau Sensitive Species - Plant or animal species 
eligible for federal listed, federal candidate, state 
listed, or state candidate (plant) status, or on List 
1 in the Oregon Natural Heritage Data Base, or 
approved for this category by the State director. 

Candidate Species - Those plants and animals 
included in Federal Register "Notices of Review" 
that are being considered by the Fish and Wildlife 
Service (FWS) for listing as threatened or endan- 
gered. There are two categories that are of 
primary concern to BLM. These are: 

Category 1 Species - Taxa for which the FWS 
has substantial information on hand to 
support proposing the species for listing as 



49 



threatened or endangered. Listing proposals 
are either being prepared or have been 
delayed by higher priority listing work. 

Category 2 Species - Taxa for which the FWS 
has information to indicate that listing is 
possibly appropriate. Additional information 
is being collected. 

Carrying Capacity - The maximum number of animals 
an area can sustain without inducing damage to 
vegetation or related resources, such as soil and 
water. 

Critical Growing Period - The portion of a plant's 
growing season, generally between flowering and 
seed ripe, when defoliation is most detrimental. 

Cumulative Effect - The impact which results from 
identified actions when they are added to other past, 
present, and reasonably foreseeable future actions 
regardless of who undertakes such other actions. 
Cumulative effects can result from individually minor 
but collectively significant actions taking place over a 
period of time. 

Cultural Resources - Any definite location of past 
human activity identifiable through field survey, 
historical documentation, or oral evidence; includes 
archaeological sites, structures, or places, and 
places of traditional cultural or religious importance to 
specified groups whether or not represented by 
physical remains. 

Deferred Grazing - Grazing occurs after a specified 
period, such as after seed ripe of key forage species. 

Developed Recreation Site - A site developed with 
permanent facilities designed to accommodate 
recreation use. 

Dispersed Recreation - Outdoor recreation which 
visitors are diffused over relatively large areas. 
Where facilities or developments are provided, they 
are primarily for access and protection of the environ- 
ment rather than comfort or convenience of the user. 

Environmental Assessment (EA) - A systematic 
analysis of site-specific BLM activities used to 
determine whether such activities have a significant 
effect on the quality of the human environment and 
whether a formal Environmental Impact Statement 
(EIS) is required; and to aid an agency's compliance 
with NEPAwhen no EIS is necessary. 



Environmental Impact - The positive or negative 
effect of any action upon a given area or resource. 

Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) -A formal 
document to filed with the Environmental Protection 
Agency that considers significant environmental 
impacts expected from implementation of a major 
federal action. 

Erosion - Detachment and movement of soil or rock 
by water, wind, ice, or gravity. 

Grazing System - The specific way in which the 
amount and timing of grazing is planned for a given 
area. 

Gully - A soil erosion channel formed by surface 
flowing water which has been concentrated in a 
narrow area. Depths can range from a few feet to as 
much as 100 feet. 

Habitat - The place where a plant or animal naturally 
lives and grows. 

Impact - A spatial or temporal change in the environ- 
ment caused by human activity. 

Impair - To diminish in value or excellence. 

Inholding - Parcels of land with surface or mineral 
rights held privately or administered by a non-BLM 
agency. 

Leasable Minerals - Minerals which may be leased to 
private interests by the federal government. Includes 
oil, gas, geothermal resources and coal. 

Listed Species - Any species of fish, wildlife or plant 
which has been determined to be endangered or 
threatened under Section 4 of the Endangered 
Species Act. It is any plant or animal which is in 
danger of extinction throughout all or a significant 
part of its range. Listed species are found in 50 CFR 
17.11-17.12. 

Locatable Minerals - Minerals subject to exploration, 
development and disposal by staking mining claims 
as authorized by the Mining Law of 1872 (as 
amended). This includes valuable deposits of gold, 
silver and other uncommon minerals not subject to 
lease or sale. 

Management Framework Plan (MFP) - A land use 
plan that established coordinated land use alloca- 
tions for all resource and support activities for a 



50 



specific land area within a BLM district. It established 
objectives and constraints for each resource and 
support activity and provided data for consideration in 
program planning. This process has been replaced 
by the Resource Management Planning process. 

Mining Claim - Portions of public lands claimed for 
possession of locatable mineral deposits, by locating 
and recording under established rules and pursuant 
to the 1872 Mining Law. 

Mitigating Measures - Modifications of actions which 
(a) avoid impacts by not taking a certain action or 
parts of an action; (b) minimize impacts by limiting 
the degree or magnitude of the action and its imple- 
mentation; (c) rectify impacts by repairing, rehabilitat- 
ing or restoring the affected environment; (d) reduce 
or eliminate impacts over time by preservation and 
maintenance operations during the life of the action; 
or (e) compensate for impacts by replacing or provid- 
ing substitute resources or environments. 

Monitoring/Evaluation - The orderly collection and 
analysis of data to evaluate the progress and effec- 
tiveness of on-the-ground actions in meeting re- 
source management objectives. 

Naturalness - Refers to an area which "generally 
appears to have been affected primarily by the forces 
of nature, with the imprint of man's work substantially 
unnoticeable." (Wilderness Act, 1967) 

Noxious Weed - A plant specified by law as being 
especially undesirable, troublesome and difficult to 
control. 

Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) - Any motorized track or 
wheel vehicle designed for cross country travel over 
natural terrain. 

Off-Highway Vehicle Designation 

Open: Designated areas and trails where 
off-road vehicles may be operated 
subject to operating regulations 
and vehicle standards set forth in 
BLM Manuals 8341 and 8343. 

Limited: Designated areas and trails where 
off-road vehicles are subject to 
restrictions limiting the number or 
types of vehicles, date and time of 
use; limited to existing or desig- 
nated roads and trails. 



Closed: Areas and trails where the use of 
off-road vehicles is permanently or 
temporarily prohibited. Emer- 
gency use is allowed. 



Outstanding 
of its kind. 



Standing out and superior among other 



Pasture - A subdivision of a grazing allotment ca- 
pable of being grazed by livestock independently 
from the rest of the allotment. 

Plan Amendment - A change in the terms, conditions 
or decisions of a resource management plan. 

Primitive and Unconfined Recreation - Nonmotorized 
and undeveloped types of outdoor recreation activity. 

Primitive Recreation - Characterized under the ROS 
by opportunity for isolation from human sights and 
sounds, to feel a part of the natural environment, to 
have high risk challenge, and to use outdoor skills in 
a large and essentially unmodified natural environ- 
ment. User concentration is very low; evidence of 
other users minimal. Only facilities essential for 
resource protection are provided. Recreational 
motorized use not permitted. Activity examples 
include backpacking and camping, hiking, climbing, 
enjoyment of scenery and natural features, hunting, 
fishing and nonmotorized f loatboating. 

Raptor - Birds of prey, such as hawks, eagles and 
owls. 

Recreation Opportunity Spectrum - A continuum used 
to characterize recreation opportunities in terms of 
setting, activity and experience. The spectrum 
contains six classes: Primitive, Semi-primitive Non- 
motorized, Semi-primitive Motorized, Roaded Natu- 
ral, Rural and Modern Urban. 

Research Natural Area (RNA) - An area that contains 
natural resource values of scientific interest and is 
managed primarily for research and educational 
purposes. 

Revegetation - Reestablishment of a vegetative cover 
on a disturbed or burned area. 

Right-of-Way - A permit or an easement that autho- 
rizes the use of public lands for specified purposes, 
such as pipelines, roads, telephone lines, electric 
lines, reservoirs and the lands covered by such an 
easement or permit. 



51 



Rill - A small erosive feature caused by the channel- 
ing of water on slopes. 

Road Prism - A cross section of a constructed road 
which includes cutbanks, roadside ditches, road 
surface and fill slopes below the road. 

Roaded Natural Recreation - A class (type) of recre- 
ation characterized under the ROS by opportunities 
for both motorized and nonmotorized recreational 
activities with site-specific facilities and controls 
sometimes provided for user convenience, safety and 
resource protection. Opportunity to have a high 
degree of interaction with the natural environment is 
available. Activity examples may include those 
described under Primitive Recreation, plus auto 
touring, interpretive use, organized campground, 
picnic and boating activities and motorized boating 
sports. 

Rotational Grazing - Grazing use is subdivided into 
units or pastures with grazing taking place in one 
unit, then another, in regular succession. This 
rotational use can be alternated between years in a 
variety of grazing systems. 

Salable Minerals - High volume, low value mineral 
resources including common varieties of rock, clay, 
decorative stone, sand and gravel. 

Scenic Quality - The relative worth of a landscape 
from a visual perception point of view. 

Semi-Primitive Nonmotorized Recreation - Character- 
ized under the ROS by some opportunity for isolation 
from human sights and sounds. Opportunity to have 
a high degree of interaction with the natural environ- 
ment with moderate challenge and risk, and to use 
outdoor skills in a predominantly unmodified natural 
environment of moderate to large size. Concentra- 
tion of users is low. Facilities are provided for the 
protection of resources and safety of users, only. 

Soil - A natural body on the surface of the earth 
composed of mineral and organic materials, living 
forms, air and water. 

Solitude - 1 . The state of being alone or remote from 
habitations; isolation. 2. A lonely, unfrequented or 
secluded place. 

Special Features - Features that may be present in 
an area under consideration for wilderness, such as 
ecological, geological or other features of scientific, 
educational, scenic or historical value. 



Special Recreation Management Area (SMRA) - An 
area where a commitment has been made to provide 
specific recreation activity and experience opportuni- 
ties. These areas usually require a high level of 
recreation investment and/or management. They 
include recreation sites but recreation sites alone do 
not constitute SRMAs. 

Special Status Species - Plant or animal species 
falling in any of the following categories (see sepa- 
rate glossary definitions for each): 

-Threatened or Endangered Species 

-Proposed Threatened or Endangered Species 

-Candidate Species 

-State Listed Species 

-Bureau Sensitive Species 

-Bureau Assessment Species 

Sport Rock Climbing - For this plan, the recreational 
and competitive sport of free climbing rock walls on 
an established climbing route without the direct 
assistance of artificial climbing devices. Climbers 
use hand/foot holds (natural or man-made) to assist 
climbing. Climber safety is afforded, in part, by use 
of ropes attached on fixed (bolted, permanently 
installed) anchoring devices placed into the rock 
surface and the use of gymnastic hand chalk. Climb- 
ing routes are graded by an international method 
measuring the level of climbing difficulty. 

State Listed Species - Plant or animal species listed 
by the State of Oregon as threatened or endangered 
pursuant to ORS 496.004, ORS 498.026 or ORS 
564.040. 

Suspended Preference - The number of AUMs 
removed from a permittee's active preference. 

Threatened Species - Any species defined through 
the Endangered Species Act as likely to become 
endangered within the foreseeable future throughout 
all or a significant portion of its range and published 
in the Federal Register. 

Total Preference - The active preference and sus- 
pended preference together make up total prefer- 
ence. 

Unnecessary or Undue Degradation - Surface 
disturbance greater than what would normally result 
when an activity is being accomplished by a prudent 
operator in usual, customary and proficient opera- 
tions of similar character and taking into consider- 
ation the effects of operations on other resources and 
land uses, including those resources and uses 
outside the area of operations. Failure to initiate and 
complete reasonable mitigation measures, including 



52 



reclamation of disturbed areas, or creation of nui- 
sance, may constitute unnecessary or undue degra- 
dation. Failure to comply with applicable environ- 
mental protection statutes and regulations thereunder 
will constitute unnecessary and undue degradation. 

Utilization - The proportion of the current year's 
forage production consumed or destroyed by grazing 
animals. This term may refer to a single species or to 
the whole vegetative complex. 

Visual Resource Management (VRM) Classes - The 
inventory and planning actions to identify visual 
values and establish objectives for managing those 
values and the management actions to achieve visual 
management objectives. 

Visual Class II Management Objective - To retain the 
existing character of the landscape. The level of 
change, overall, to the existing landscape should be 
low. Management activities may be seen, but should 
not attract attention of the casual observer. Any 
changes must repeat the basic visual elements of 
form, line, color and texture found in the predominant 
natural features of the characteristic landscape. 



Wilderness Review Program - The term used to 
cover the entire process of wilderness inventory, 
study and reporting for the wilderness resource, 
culminating in recommendations submitted through 
the Secretary of the Interior and the President to 
Congress as to the suitability or nonsuitability of each 
wilderness study area for inclusion in the National 
Wilderness Preservation System. 

Wilderness Study Area (WSA) - A roadless area 
inventoried and found to be wilderness in character, 
having few human developments and providing 
outstanding opportunities for solitude and primitive 
recreation, as described in Section 603 of the Federal 
Land Policy and Management Act and in Section 2(c) 
of the Wilderness Act of 1964. 

Withdrawal - A designation which restricts or closes 
public lands from the operation of land or mineral 
disposal laws. 

Wormer Blocks - A medicated supplement in salt 
block form for treatment of internal parasites. 



53 



54 



Appendix I 

Analysis of Factors Affecting Special Status Plant Species 

I. Special Status Plants 

At least five rare plant species are found in concentrated numbers in this area: 

1. Ertter's groundsel {Senecio ertterae) is an annual species, initiating growth in early spring and completing its 
life cycle by the end of November. Its global distribution is limited to the Leslie Gulch vicinity and to two small 
sites near Birch Creek, approximately 6 miles southwest of Leslie Gulch. Suitable habitat has been surveyed in 
the Honeycombs to the north, but only one site has been found. Little potential habitat remains to be explored 
for the species, and it is anticipated that at least 90% of the plant sites have been identified. Numbers of plants 
vary dramatically based on timing and amount of rainfall in the area. 

2. Packard's blazing star (Mentzelia packardiae) also is an annual species, with its life cycle generally completed 
by late June. It grows on the same loose talus rubble as Senecio ertterae but only on the lower slopes and more 
gentle fans which spread out at the base of the talus runs. Outside of Leslie Gulch, only a single site in northern 
Nevada is known for this species. Very little potential habitat remains to be examined for Mentzelia and the 
likelihood of additional site discoveries is slim. 

3. Grimy ivesia (Ivesia rhyparavax. rhypara), a perennial herb, grows on five discrete sites in the Vale District, 
three of which are found in the Leslie Gulch ACEC. One other small site is known from Lake County, and two 
sites have been identified in northern Nevada. In spite of the fairly wide distribution, the species is extrodinarily 
rare. Unsuccessful inventories have attempted to locate more populations. It is restricted in our region to barren 
outcrops of Leslie Gulch Ash-Flow Tuff with two to three inches of rubble on top, a harsh site with little rooting 
depth. 

4. Owyhee clover (Trifolium owyheense) is known from five sites in the Leslie Gulch ACEC. Sites are also 
known outside the area, but all are found east of the Owyhee Reservoir. Little is known about this species, and 
it is anticipated that more sites will be located with intensive inventory. Succulent legumes such as this are 
palatable to herbivores. 

5. Of the rare species in the Leslie Gulch ACEC, sterile milk-vetch {Astragalus sterilis) is the most wide-spread 
geographically and in terms of known numbers and number of sites, although it is endemic to the Owyhee 
Region. It occupies loose ash sites of varying colors and textures. An extensive inventory for the species has 
been conducted east of the Owyhee Reservoir, and more sites are anticipated to be found when a similar 
inventory can be conducted west of the reservoir. 

Ivesia is also known from one site (<1/4 acre) in Lake County, Oregon, and one population each in Washoe 
County (1 acre,) and Elko County, (1-2 acres) Nevada. Mentzelia packardiae occurs with Ivesia at the Elko site. 
All other locations for these species are in and around Leslie Gulch and the Sucker Creek Formation. 
In 1991 , the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service received a petition to list Senecio ertterae, Mentzelia packardiae, 
Ivesia rhypara var. rhypara, and Astragalis sterilis. Reasons cited for the petition to list included potential 
impacts from cyanide heap-leach gold mining, invasion of weedy species, and the mechanical disturbance of 
sites due to livestock grazing. Senecio and Mentzelia are also listed by the State of Oregon as threatened. 

The table below shows the federal candidate species, the number of acres of habitat in the Leslie Gulch ACEC, 
the total number of habitat acres for the entire species range, and the number of acres in areas used by live- 
stock in Leslie Gulch. 



55 



Leslie Gulch Species 



Species: 

Senecio ertterae 
Mentzelia packardiae 
Ivesia rhypara 
var. rhypara 
Trifolium owyheense 



Fed. 
Stat. 

C1 
C2 
C2 

C2 



State 
Status 

LT 
LT 
C 



Global 

Acres 

Habitat 

227 

<100 

<20* 

<60 



L. Gulch 

Acres 

Habitat 

184 

93 

4 

40" 



L. Gulch 

Grazed 

Acres 

93 
93 
4 

35" 



^Estimate of habitat for Ivesia rhypara var. rhypara is highly optimistic, allowing for discovery of new habitat in Nevada. 

" Estimate of habitat for Trifolium owyheense is based on inadequate inventory. Total after completion of further inventories will probably be closer to 120 



Populations of several of these species are so restricted in extent that any man-caused disturbances that reduce 
population numbers or create opportunities for exotic weed species are a major concern for future viability of the 
species. In the case of the Senecio and Mentzelia, the habitat patches for each species are so close together 
that spread of disease or weedy competitors would be very difficult to control. With Ivesia and Trifolium, the 
remaining habitat patches are so small that the risk of local extinction is relatively high. 

In particular, Ivesia is directly and immediately threatened by loss of genetic material due to death of plants 
because of the extremely small number of plants and area of habitat. 

Both Ivesia and Trifolium appear to be palatable to animals. 

While the remaining rare plants have survived nearly a hundred years of livestock grazing, there is no method to 
compare pre-grazing and post-grazing populations. It is certain that large portions of the rare plant habitat have 
been affected to some degree and are surrounded with poor condition range sites. There appears to be suitable 
habitat in the vicinity which is not occupied by these species. It is not possible to determine whether any of these 
species were much more widespread in the past. However, they all seem to require specific soil substrates 
which are found only near Leslie Gulch or similar centers of volcanic activity. 

II. Habitat Conditions 

Ecological conditions of the upland plant communities in Leslie Gulch vary from late serai stages on the north- 
facing and more inaccessible slopes to early and mid serai stages, particularly near the reservoir. In the canyon 
bottoms near the reservoir and on some of the south-facing slopes, exotic species such as Russian thistle, 
cheatgrass, and wooly mullein are common. Canyon bottoms near the reservoir are generally in early serai 
condition, with desirable grass species such as basin wildrye, sand dropseed and needlegrass reduced to trace 
occurrences. Other canyon bottoms are in at least mid serai stage. Livestock forage utilization studies taken 
since 1985 show that recent use levels have been between 10 and 16 percent of annual production on 
bluebunch wheatgrass. Existing monitoring studies are not designed to determine if recent range management 
changes are allowing canyon bottom habitats to improve. Observed apparent trend in Slocum Creek was static 
in September, 1992. 

Senecio ertterae occurs on steep talus slopes, moderate to gentle slopes, and in canyon bottoms and washes 
wherever there is sufficient material of the ash tuff gravels present. Mentzelia packardiae is found nearly exclu- 
sively at the base of loose talus slopes. Some of this habitat has been removed by construction of the roads in 
Leslie and Dago Gulchs. The lower slopes and canyon bottom habitat are crossed by numerous compacted 
trails which are no longer suitable habitat, and which may provide opportunities for establishment of exotic 
weeds. The steeper upper slopes, which are habitat for Senecio, but not Mentzelia, do not have significant signs 
of trailing. Recent research (1983) in Leslie Gulch and the adjacent Honeycombs indicates that the observed 
trails are caused by livestock which spend all of their time on slopes less than 40%, while the bighorn sheep 
predominately use slopes over 40%. It appears that bighorn sheep numbers are too small to cause a significant 
disruption of the rare plant habitat on the steeper slopes. Deer populations are also too small to have any effect. 
56 



Ivesia and Trifolium occur on flat to gently sloping clay sites, but there is apparently a distinct difference in the 
types of suitable clay substrate composition since the species do not occur together. Some habitat of both 
species has been destroyed by road construction. One population of Ivesia at the edge of the Honeycombs 
WSA (northeast of Leslie Gulch) has been partially destroyed by road construction associated with mining 
exploration, and may be affected by current mining claims. In Leslie Gulch ACEC, the primary access road cuts 
through one population of Ivesia and livestock are presently trailed through the site into and out of the pasture. 

III. Factors Affecting Special Status Plants and Habitat 

Impacts to rare plant species in the ACEC include potential and known effects. Destruction of plant habitat, 
damage to the plants themselves, and the invasion of noxious weeds are the biggest concerns that have been 
identified. Soil compaction and road construction in Senecio, Mentzelia, and Ivesia sites are examples of habitat 
destruction. Causes of damage to the plants include herbivory on Ivesia and Trifolium, as well as trampling, 
breakage, and uprooting from livestock trailing through Mentzelia, Senecio, and Ivesia sites. 

Invasion of noxious weeds presents one of the greatest threats to rare species and their habitats. Cheatgrass 
has become established throughout all habitat types, but is more abundant in disturbed soils and canyon bottom 
sites. Russian thistle is most abundant along roadsides and on disturbed soils. These species do not appear to 
have the ability to fully colonize and dominate the rare plant habitat. However, within the last ten years, exten- 
sive infestations of whitetop have become problematic in the areas east of Leslie Gulch. Cattle have been 
observed to ingest this species, and there is little doubt that viable seed may be transported by various animals. 
Vehicles may carry the seeds into the area along roads. To date, whitetop is found only along the road at 
approximately four sites in Leslie Gulch where control measures have been initiated. It is a major concern that 
seed may be carried to less accessible areas, where the plants could become well-established before control 
measures can effectively remove the infestations. Scotch thistle and yellow star-thistle are also of concern at 
present. These aggressive species may be able to outcompete the rare plants. Disturbed habitat along the 
roads is the primary avenue of weed invasion into Leslie Gulch. Livestock trails are the main source of distur- 
bance which could allow the weeds to spread directly into rare plant habitat. Ungulates including cattle, horses, 
bighorn sheep, and deer could spread weeds into the rare plant habitats by carrying seeds on hooves or through 
their digestive tracts. Concentrated hiking and camping activity also have the potential to create disturbed, 
compacted soils and transport weed seeds into rare plant habitat. 

Since the late I800's, Leslie Gulch has experienced grazing from domestic animals, both cattle and sheep. 
Numbers of animals and seasons of use in the canyon are unknown for the earlier years. From 1983 to 1990, 
there were 140 head of yearling cattle from March 1 to May 1 in the Leslie Gulch pasture of the ACEC. In 1991 
and I992, the only use was from trespass cattle. During the winter of 1992-93, trespass livestock used areas 
near Owyhee Reservoir, including Slocum Creek. 

Wild horses were present in Leslie Gulch during the 1960's. Although Leslie Gulch ACEC is still part of a wild 
horse herd management area, the wild horses generally have been using habitat north of the ACEC for the past 
twenty years. There are no natural or manmade barriers to prevent movement into the ACEC. Water sources in 
the pasture are limited to Mud Spring, ephemeral seeps in Slocum Creek and Juniper Gulch, and at the Owyhee 
Reservoir. Because of the steepness of the canyons and the poor distribution of water in the Leslie Gulch 
ACEC, livestock use is concentrated on the lower slopes and near the water sources, intensifying the potential of 
damage to rare plant habitat from livestock trailing. 

Recreational use has been concentrated near the developed campground, along roads, at the reservoir, and in 
areas offering rock climbing opportunities. The Slocum Creek trail is the only obvious hiking trail crossing or 
impacting rare plant habitat. This primary hiking access trail to the WSA was probably created by livestock, 
which still actively use the trail. The rock climbing areas known to be in active use do not appear to be near rare 
plant habitat. Recreational vehicles and horse use have the potential to create the same types of impacts as 
cattle, particularly if they are allowed off of the main roads. As noted above, access roads have destroyed some 
habitat of all four rare species, but present motor vehicle use does not appear to be causing extension of the 
damage. 

IV. Possible Management Actions to Resolve Problems and Conserve Rare Species 

57 



Plant sites impacted by the main Leslie Gulch Road could be restored in one or two areas by outsloping the road 
to allow the outwash to pass over and form new habitat downstream of the road. This would increase the 
requirement for road maintenance on these sections. Closing or re-routing the public access road could also be 
considered. However, moving the road would destroy additional habitat in some areas. Where the road went 
through Ivesia habitat, there is no option of repair because the clay soil was cut away. 

If livestock were kept off the slopes, the ash tuff talus would naturally cover the compacted trails in a few years 
and restore the habitat. In addition to restoring lost habitat, this restoration would also discourage noxious weed 
invasion. Compacted clay soils on the Ivesia habitat could be expected to recover more slowly. The only 
feasible way to keep livestock and horses off Senecio and Mentzelia habitat is to exclude them from the Leslie 
Gulch pasture. These species occur in too many small patches scattered along the canyon to allow site specific 
exclosures. Fencing to protect Ivesia would require approximately 2.5 miles of fence and installation of one 
cattleguard. The alternative to installing a cattleguard would be to close and reroute part of the main Leslie 
Gulch Road, or to close it and upgrade the old access road. Without the exclosure, trailing damage and com- 
paction could be reduced on the Ivesia habitat by trailing the livestock along the old access road. 

Changing the season of use of livestock would not substantially reduce the trampling and trailing effect observed 
on the ash tuff habitat. Trespass livestock use in the winter resulted in concentrated use near the reservoir due 
to adverse weather, thereby increasing compaction on rare plant sites in Slocum Creek. Change in season of 
use might encourage an upward trend in species composition in poor condition range sites. A winter season of 
use might actually cause increased browsing on Ivesia rhypara since this is a perennial rather succulent species. 
Winter grazing use will increase utilization of sadscale, a plant that grows on the ash tuff sites occupied by 
Senecio and Mentzelia. In 1993, cattle actively searched for and browsed on shadsclae on open slopes in winter, 
causing significant degress of disturbance to the rare plant habitat. Repeated, cumulative impacts could result in 
substantial loss of habitat. 

One of the most effective means of reducing the risk of spreading weeds into the rare plant habitat is to exclude 
livestock from the pasture. Although the area has been grazed by livestock for a hundred years, the invasion by 
noxious weeds is a relatively recent phenomenon. 

To further reduce the risk of weeds being carried into Leslie Gulch, horse use could be banned except for 
administrative purposes (such as rounding up livestock). A weaker, less enforceable measure would be to 
require the horses be provided with weed-free hay and restricting them to road surfaces. 

Modifying the wild horse herd management area boundary to exclude Leslie Gulch would remove any potential 
impacts of wild horse use on rare plants. 

While motor vehicles could be banned as a means to reduce the risk to spread weeds, it is probably more 
appropriate to maintain aggressive weed control along the road. Banning vehicles would mean abandoning the 
road. Reclamation of the abandoned road would take a long time and provide habitat for invasion of weeds. 

Dago Gulch road could be closed to public motor vehicle access. It dead ends at private land where there is no 
adequate turn-around constructed. Widening the road or constructing a turn-around at the gate would destroy 
habitat for Senecio ertterae. Public vehicular traffic is presently creating minor impacts to the rare plant habitat. 
Alternatively, the road could be closed at the proposed Dago Gulch campsite. 

Road maintenance activities should be carefully planned and coordinated between the botanist and engineering 
staff. Some modifications may be feasible to allow recovery of lost habitat, but the primary concern is to avoid 
further losses. 

Dust from the road does not appear to coat the plants. If such a problem were discovered, we could consider 
using dust control measures on the road surface on a site specific basis. 

The number of campsites or users at Slocum Creek campground should be monitored and regulated if people 
start climbing on the nearby ash tuff slopes. The trail up Slocum Creek could be rerouted to avoid the best 
quality habitat. Another option would be to place interpretive signs at the campground trail access to encourage 
people to stay off the old trail and slopes to let them heal. However, these options would only be effective if 

58 



livestock use was removed. Closing the trail completely is an option, but probably an unreasonable one since 
this is the best access point to the WSA from Leslie Gulch (access in Dago Gulch results in trespass). 

V. Conclusions 

BLM's policy is to "...ensure that actions do not contribute to the need to list..." any species as threatened or 
endangered (BLM Manual 6840). Several of the rare plant species in Leslie Gulch ACEC are so restricted in 
terms of range of occurrence, acres of habitat, and in one case, low numbers of individuals, that any factor 
reducing plant vigor, numbers, or available habitat may increase the risk of local extinction. 

The best management practices for rare plants in Leslie Gulch include the following: 

1 . Restriction of the Dago Gulch road to public access; 

2. Elimination of grazing from the Leslie Gulch pasture; 

3. Mineral withdrawal; 

4. Control of noxious weeds; 

5. Careful road maintenance; 

6. Control of recreational uses, particularly intensive campsites and use of horses. 



59 



60 






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